Officials with the Illinois medical marijuana program are turning down the shades and asking pot growers to put on the proverbial ski mask before smuggling seed into the state. Although cannabis cultivation will soon be legal for those farmers who have managed to prove their upstanding citizenship to state regulators, planting the initial crop will not be possible without them running the risk of becoming known felons.
Unfortunately, while marijuana legalization continues to gain ground in states all across the country, federal law still considers the herb a Schedule I dangerous substance with no medicinal value. This, of course, presents some challenges in states, like Illinois, which are preparing to launch a medical marijuana program but must first somehow find a way to get their hands on seed without being shut down by Uncle Sam.
Robert Morgan, the man who oversees medical marijuana for the Illinois Department of Health, recently told NBC Chicago that while the state has taken every precaution to assure their program is conducted above the board, there is simply no escaping the felonious aspect of acquiring the seed needed to begin cultivation.
This is because growers cannot legally have marijuana seed sent to them via major shipping sources like FedEx, UPS or the United States Postal Service. To do so would be a clear violation of federal law, and could result in a vicious DEA shakedown that they would not soon forget.
So, where does the seed come from? State Representative Louis Lang, who sponsored the Illinois medical marijuana bill, says the state does not know and does not want to know.
“We purposely left the bill silent. It’s either grown illegally in Illinois or brought in inappropriately,” he said. “Admittedly, the first seed is not technically a legal seed. There is no way to write this.”
Illinois medical marijuana regulators have received nearly 160 applications from companies ready to commit a felony in order to run cultivation centers. With the first run of licenses expected to be granted before the end of the year, lawmakers predict there will be a substantial amount of Smokey and the Bandit hijinks within the next month.’