Medical marijuana dispensary concerned over attorney general rem - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Medical marijuana dispensary concerned over attorney general remarks

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Pamphlet for the Illinois Medical Marijuana Pilot Program. Pamphlet for the Illinois Medical Marijuana Pilot Program.
Sign displayed inside lobby of the Quincy dispensary. Sign displayed inside lobby of the Quincy dispensary.
Close look at a marijuana leaf. Close look at a marijuana leaf.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Local dispensary workers and medical marijuana patients fear U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's new focus on enforcing federal marijuana laws could hurt Illinois' medical marijuana program.

A memo put out by the Department of Justice and Sessions directs U.S. attorneys to enforce the federal laws on marijuana. While some states have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical use, like Illinois, it is still illegal under federal law. 

April Burch says her seizure disorder put her on disability for 15 years and on a number of medications. That all changed after she joined the state's medical marijuana program.

"I am now pharmaceutical free and I'm working full-time," Burch said. "So I feel like it's given me my life back."

A testament those with Herbal Remedies LLC often hear. Employees there now fear remarks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions will prevent more people from seeing the benefits of medicinal marijuana.

"We're talking a very large people that this could have an adverse effect on," Chief Operating Officer Chris Wildrick said.

Marijuana is a federally scheduled 1 drug. This means it's illegal because it has high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns. Six states legalized recreational marijuana and in 28 states, including Illinois it's legal for medicinal use. Sessions statements caused panic on how those using it for medical use will be targeted.

"People want to be legal in their use of cannabis," Wildrick explained.

Burch says she lost her sister to opioids. Her desire is to see the state's medical marijuana program succeed.

"I want medical marijuana to be a first choice," Burch stressed. "Not, this is your last choice."

Wildrick feels the government should take the lead on research for the medical field to use.

"Physicians already have that concern on what is this going to do to my license," Wildrick added. "This is just going to add one more question or confusion."

A Department of Justice official stressed to NBC News that Sessions's memo did not explicitly call for prosecuting growing, buying or using marijuana nor did it say prosecutors should go after the industry.

In Missouri is prohibited in all forms. Last year in Iowa, then governor Terry Branstad signed a law that expanded medical marijuana oil use to more qualifying conditions for patients.

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