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Cannabis Cultivator Makes Historic Debut at Chicago Marathon

Maureen Meehan

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Cresco Labs, Illinois’s largest approved grower of medical marijuana, sponsored last weekend’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon, making Cresco the first-of-its-kind to sponsor a mainstream athletic event in the country. The company’s sponsorship marked the launch of a million dollar outreach campaign to promote educational information on medical cannabis.

Some 45,000 runners received Cresco Labs‘ insert in their race participant bags, explaining the company’s self-funded medical marijuana campaign, “State of Relief.”

“Having the Chicago Marathon promote this program and the use of cannabis as medicine speaks to the normalization and universal acceptance of it,” Cresco Founder Charles Bachtell told Sun Times’ Extract. “There are thousands of runners that participate as part of the marathon’s strong commitment to charities, and medical cannabis can help those with symptoms from conditions like Cancer, AIDS, Autism and ALS.”

Cresco President Rob Sampson told the Chicago Tribune that the outreach campaign is about “educating patients and doctors that there are new forms of medical relief in Illinois and directing them to our website to use as a portal for applying.”

Although Illinois technically bans cannabis growers from marketing products directly to the general public, Cresco’s outreach campaign focuses on educating the public about the state’s overall medical program, rather than their own products, according to Bachtell.

Illinois’ Department of Health has approved 3,100 patients under its medical cannabis pilot program, and currently, three dispensaries are licensed and ready to open. More are expected to open in the coming months.

Cresco Labs, which plans to open three cultivation centers, is one of nine growers approved for cultivation in Illinois thus far.

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