Windy City Cannabis: Intro to Cannabis in Chicago

Published January 06, 2022
Windy City Cannabis: Intro to Cannabis in Chicago - Secret Nature

Chicago residents were overjoyed when recreational cannabis became legal in January of 2020. For many cannabis consumers in the Windy City, though, stepping into a legal Chicago cannabis shop for the first time felt like a slap in the face. How could prices be this high for products this awful?

Cannabis-loving Chicagoans have asked the same question every day since. Prices for weed in Chicago have not gone down, and product quality has not gone up. Given this state of affairs, should cannabis users in Illinois continue giving their business to an industry that clearly doesn’t have their best interests in mind, or should they start looking for alternative suppliers for their THC needs?

Is weed legal in Chicago?

Yes, recreational cannabis has been sold in Chicago and throughout Illinois since January of 2020. Adults over 21 years of age can now possess up to 30g of cannabis flower and 5g of THC concentrate at a time. Growing weed for recreational purposes in Illinois remains illegal, and you can still go to jail and pay hefty fines for possessing more cannabis than Illinois allows.

How old do you have to be to buy weed in Chicago?

Chicago residents and visitors must be at least 21 years old to buy recreational cannabis. Patients as young as 18 may have medical cannabis cards in the state of Illinois, but they can only purchase cannabis at medical marijuana dispensaries. Adults over 21 cannot shop at medical marijuana dispensaries unless they have proper medical cannabis authorization.

How much weed is a felony in Illinois?

Being caught with more than 100 grams of cannabis flower is a felony offense in the state of Illinois. Plus, if you are caught more than once with more than 30g of delta 9 THC flower, you can also be charged with a felony. The penalties for over-possession of cannabis concentrate are the same as the penalties for cannabis flower. Illinois is unusually harsh in its punishments for over-possession of delta 9 THC cannabis.

What are the penalties for weed trafficking in Chicago?

You definitely shouldn’t sell any amount of weed in the state of Illinois unless you’re licensed by the government. Even trafficking less than 2.5g of cannabis in Chicago is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,500, and if you’re caught selling 10 grams of cannabis or more without a license, that’s a felony accompanied by a 1-3 year state prison sentence and up to $25,000 in fines.

What kinds of weed products can you buy in Chicago?

The state of Illinois doesn’t have any particular restrictions on the types of products that can be sold in recreational cannabis dispensaries. Just as in any other state that has legalized recreational cannabis, Illinois dispensary shelves are commonly stocked with:

  • Cannabis flower in sizes between 1g and 1oz
  • Cannabis pre-rolls in quantities between 1 and 10
  • Cannabis concentrate in 1g containers
  • 1g and 0.5g cannabis vape cartridges
  • Cannabis edibles with 10mg per bite and 100mg per package
  • Cannabis topicals of varying potency

Most recreational cannabis dispensaries in Chicago will carry roughly the same products. At medical cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, you can buy seeds and clones for cultivation, but growing cannabis is illegal in this state unless you have a medical marijuana card.

Where can I legally smoke weed in Chicago?

You can only smoke cannabis in Chicago on private property, and you must have the property owner’s permission. The mayor of Chicago has specifically stated, though, that it is alright for residents to consume cannabis products on their own balconies or in their own backyards, which can sometimes be considered semi-public spaces if they are viewable from the street. Do not smoke cannabis products in public spaces anywhere in the state of Illinois.

Can I grow my own weed in Illinois?

It is only legal to grow your own high-THC cannabis in the state of Illinois if you have a valid medical marijuana card. Growing cannabis for recreational purposes is only allowed in Illinois if you are a licensed cannabis producer.

At the same time, growing up to five plants for personal use without a medical cannabis card is only a civil violation punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Grow more than five high-THC cannabis plants, though, and you can go to prison for 1-3 years and owe the state as much as $25,000—medical marijuana patient or no.

What are Chicago dispensary recreational prices like?

There’s no nice way to say it: legal weed in Chicago is ridiculously expensive. Expect to shell out up to twice what you’d pay for similar products on the black market or online for reduced product selection and quality.

If you live in Chicago and you’re annoyed at the sky-high prices of recreational cannabis in your city, you’re not alone. Plenty of Windy City residents are just as fed up with you, which is why they often take their business elsewhere.

Why is weed so expensive in Illinois?

Legal weed is more expensive in Illinois than in other states mainly due to the considerably higher tax rates Illinois lawmakers demand from producers, dispensaries, and consumers alike. As various states around the country have legalized recreational cannabis, some have done it better than others. Illinois has had one of the worst launches in the history of recreational THC, but it’s not too late for the state to turn things around.

Other states, including Washington state, initially set their tax rates too high as well, stagnating cannabis markets in their early days. Washington pulled out of the slump, however, and now offers high-quality cannabis products at reasonable prices. Cannabis sales in Illinois continue to improve, which will hopefully provide the revenue necessary to inspire lawmakers to revise their taxation expectations.

For the moment, though, Illinois recreational weed remains the country’s most expensive. Chicago cannabis consumers who don’t want to be unreasonably gouged can be forgiven for satisfying their THC needs elsewhere.

Is delta 8 cheaper than weed in Chicago?

Yes, delta 8 products are ironically much less expensive than delta 9 THC products sold in Chicago’s recreational shops. An eighth of high-quality delta 8 weed bought online will generally cost $30 - $40, but a recreational delta 9 eighth of equal value sold in Illinois could cost anywhere between $60 - $100. Black-market weed is available for about the same price as online delta 8, but the quality of delta 8 products is often much higher, and considerably more product information is available.

Can you buy weed online in Chicago?

No, the state of Illinois has misguidedly made it illegal to order recreational cannabis products online, forcing adults 21 and over to physically visit state-sanctioned cannabis shops to pick up products. It’s unclear why Illinois took this approach when other recreational cannabis states, including California and neighboring Michigan, actively encourage the efforts of popular online cannabis delivery platforms like Amuse and Eaze. The inconvenience of in-person shopping combines with Chicago’s ridiculously high weed prices to significantly disincentivize cannabis consumers from buying cannabis through official channels.

Can you buy delta 8 online in Chicago?

Yes, all major producers of delta 8 online ship to Chicago and elsewhere throughout Illinois. In most cases, shipping times are fast, and there are a wide variety of delta 8 producers to choose from online.

The relatively unregulated nature of the delta 8 market has allowed some producers to reach unheard-of heights of quality and customer service, but it has also given license to scammers and con artists. Choose your online delta 8 provider carefully, but rest assured you’re getting a much better deal than you’ll find in a Chicago recreational cannabis dispensary.

Is delta 8 legal in Chicago?

Certain Illinois lawmakers have attempted to make delta 8 THC illegal in their state, but as of January 2022, the state of Illinois has not succeeded in banning this hemp derivative. As a result, jurisdiction reverts to the federal 2018 Farm Bill, which generally identifies delta 8 THC products as industrial hemp, a legal category also home to other hemp cannabinoids including CBD, CBG, and CBC.

What are the best delta 8 products to buy in Chicago?

With fast shipping times, top-shelf live resin distillate, and hundreds of verified 5-star reviews, lab-tested Secret Nature delta 8 products are universally considered to lead the online D8 market. Secret Nature is the only hemp producer to have bred its own high-D8 strains, and any delta 8 not produced by the Secret Nature cultivation team has been carefully converted from another naturally occurring hemp cannabinoid.

Offering batch-specific lab testing and the type of fair pricing you should be receiving at Illinois recreational cannabis shops, Secret Nature is the obvious choice for any Chicagoan dissatisfied by high-priced yet low-quality legal cannabis. Order Secret Nature delta 8 vapes, pre-rolls, and flower today.

Chicago cannabis FAQ

Make sure you know everything you need to know about cannabis in Chicago before you proceed by reviewing the FAQ section below:

1. Where can I find a Chicago recreational dispensary menu?

Most Chicago recreational dispensaries post their menus online. You can also often use third-party services like Jane or WeedMaps to view Illinois dispensary menus, reviews, and more. Call a Chicago dispensary directly if you have any menu questions that can’t be answered online.

2. Can you go to multiple dispensaries in one day in Illinois?

Yes, you can visit or make purchases at any number of Illinois dispensaries you like within a 24-hour period. Illinois imposes limits on the total amount of cannabis you can possess, however, so it is important to not exceed this limit when shopping at multiple dispensaries.

3. Is there a limit on how much cannabis you can buy in Illinois?

Yes, the state of Illinois has imposed limits on the amount of cannabis you can buy or possess at a time. For residents, the limits are as follows:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower
  • 500mg of THC in a cannabis-infused product
  • 5 grams of a cannabis concentrate

It appears nobody thought to inform the state of Illinois that, on average, 30 grams of cannabis flower contains 6000mg THC, 12 times the maximum amount possessible in “cannabis-infused products.” On the bright side, adults in Illinois can buy up to five grams of cannabis concentrate in the form of vapes, dabs, or other products purely composed of cannabis extract — if you’re a resident, that is. Roll into an Illinois dispensary with an out-of-state ID, and these are the limits on the quantity of cannabis products you can buy:

  • 15 grams of cannabis flower
  • 250mg of THC in a cannabis-infused product
  • 2.5 grams of cannabis concentrate

4. Do dispensaries share information in Illinois?

No, under state law, Illinois adult-use cannabis dispensaries are expressly forbidden from sharing any personal information gathered from their customers with anyone — including law enforcement. This also means that dispensaries in Illinois are not allowed to share customer information with each other.

5. Can I go to a dispensary in Illinois without a card?

A medical cannabis card is not required to buy cannabis in Illinois. You only need to produce state-issued identification proving you are over 21 years old.

6. Can I buy from a dispensary in Illinois if I live in Indiana

Yes, there is no law that you must be an Illinois resident to buy cannabis in Chicago or elsewhere in the state. It is, however, a federal felony to carry THC over state lines, and adult-use cannabis is not yet legal in Indiana. Therefore, it is recommended that you use any cannabis products bought in Illinois before recrossing the state line back to Indiana.

7. Do Illinois dispensaries scan your ID?

Yes, Illinois dispensaries are required by state law to equip every POS device with an approved scanning device, which ensures that provided state-issued identification is genuine. You will be required to provide your ID before you can discuss cannabis products with a budtender or make a purchase.

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