Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Applauds Move by Biden Administration to Reschedule Marijuana

SPRINGFIELD – The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois released the following statement after President Joe Biden announced his administration took a key step forward to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug:

“We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to reclassify marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act as it affirms what our group advocates for – safe, legal, and community-building uses of cannabis. We look forward to evaluating the proposed rules, which would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug on par with heroin to a less dangerous Schedule III drug,” said Tiffany Chappell Ingram, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois. “In the decades since marijuana was erroneously categorized, Black and Brown communities have experienced countless repercussions stemming from the war on drugs. While this decision cannot reverse that damage, it does recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and enhances the viability of marijuana companies, including allowing for the same expense deductions enjoyed by other businesses. This is an important step in the right direction for the cannabis industry and our society at large, and we hope this continues to pave the path towards federal legalization.”

Coalition of Scientists, Safety Advocates and Cannabis Industry Groups Unveil Bipartisan Legislation to Regulate Hemp Consumer Products, Prohibit Synthetic THC Intoxicants Such as Delta-8

SPRINGFIELD – A coalition of scientists, safety advocates and cannabis industry groups today unveiled bipartisan legislation to create a long-overdue regulatory framework for hemp consumer products following a proliferation of unregulated THC products that has created confusion across the state and put consumers at risk.

The Hemp Consumer Products Act (SB3926), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, would create a regulatory framework for hemp consumer products, establishing standards for licensing, testing and labeling akin to those already in place for cannabis. It would also prohibit synthetic THC intoxicants such as Delta-8 pending further study and review of product safety. The goal of the legislation is to fill the gap left by federal regulators who have left standardization and regulation of hemp to the states. While dozens of other states have taken action, Illinois consumers remain vulnerable without clear guidelines.

Hemp consumer products are products that contain naturally occurring hemp and contain no greater than 0.3 percent of total THC in the end product, such as CBD. Synthetic THC intoxicants such as Delta-8 and Delta-10 are products that are adulterated or chemically modified to concentrate THC, leading to products that are extremely potent.

Licensed cannabis businesses regulated by the state have gone through countless steps to ensure they are operating safely, adhering to detailed rules, including product quality control and testing, a strict ban on sales to anyone under 18, and numerous zoning guidelines including those that prohibit dispensaries from opening next to schools. Applying similar standards to consumer hemp products will allow businesses to continue to sell the safe hemp products many consumers rely on, while preventing access to synthetic THC intoxicants that pose a danger to our communities.

“Regulating the sale of hemp will create a clear distinction between consumer hemp products that have been vetted for use by consumers and synthetic THC intoxicants that are concocted without oversight,” said Tiffany Chappell Ingram, Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois. “This will not only empower consumers, giving them certainty about dosage and ingredients, but also protect children from accessing products that will make them sick.”

“Without establishing guidelines and regulations on hemp products, consumers are vulnerable and unable to make informed decisions,” said Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, a sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect small businesses and consumers.”

“Some of these intoxicating products are advertised to the youngest shoppers without any regulation or testing,” said House Deputy Republican Leader Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb. “We wouldn’t allow that in any other industry, so why should these products be treated any differently? It’s time for the state to intervene.”

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Ensuring continuity of operations for current hemp retailers to continue selling non-intoxicating, consumer-friendly hemp products.
  • Establishing important consumer protections for hemp consumer products, including minimum testing requirements, labeling, advertising, and regulatory oversight to ensure consumers have accurate information and can make informed decisions when purchasing hemp consumer products (such as CBD, CBN, and CBG).
  • Expanding upon current law, providing civil enforcement mechanisms for unlicensed sales of THC products outside the purview of the Cannabis Regulation Tax Act, including deceptive practices violations for targeting THC products to minors.
  • Prohibiting synthetic THC intoxicants (such as Delta-8 and Delta-10) pending further study and review.
  • Establishing a Hemp Synthesized Intoxicants Safety Committee, made up of state public health officials, doctors, scientists, and research experts to study the health impacts, manufacturing, and safety profile of synthetic THC hemp-derived consumer products for licensure and sale in Illinois. The Safety Committee will produce a report to inform product safety and potential manufacturing standards for state regulators and the General Assembly.
  • Inviting retailers who wish to sell intoxicating products to apply for newly-available cannabis dispensary licenses.

“It is important regulations exist so shoppers know what is in the products they consume. Right now, what’s on the label is not always what’s in the bottle,” said Bob Miller, Ph. D., Chief Scientific Officer at ACT Laboratories, Inc., a licensed cannabis testing lab.

These common-sense regulations will protect children and consumers of all ages, while also ensuring the state’s cannabis industry is no longer undermined by stores selling similar products without proper oversight.

“Right now, there are 200 small businesses that have gone through the painstaking cannabis application process and are trying to raise money to open,” said Kareem Kenyatta, co-founder of the Majority-Minority Group, a company dedicated to creating more minority owned businesses in the cannabis industry. “How is the regulated and taxed cannabis industry supposed to survive when someone can open up across the street, call themselves the same thing and operate without any rules?”

“This legislation will put in place safeguards for consumers, while also protecting the investments made by small businesses owners across Illinois, including cannabis businesses and hemp retailers,” said Rep. Nick Smith, D-Chicago, who is sponsoring the legislation in the House. “This is a win-win-win.”

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Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Welcomes Tiffany Chappell Ingram as Executive Director

SPRINGFIELD – The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois (CBAI) is proud to announce Tiffany Chappell Ingram as the group’s new Executive Director. With her wealth of expertise in the sector, Ingram’s leadership will strengthen CBAI’s mission to advance the state’s cannabis industry through effective advocacy and legislative outreach.

Since the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois in 2019, Ingram has established a deep, multifaceted understanding of the industry through her advocacy work on both the government, and business sides of this highly- regulated, complex sector.

“Tiffany brings insight from all aspects of the state’s cannabis industry and

we look forward to leveraging her skills to ensure the state’s cannabis industry reaches its full potential,” said Jeremy Unruh, Chair of the CBAI. “Year after year,

Illinois’ cannabis industry delivers jobs and tax revenue. These have a direct and remarkable impact on the state’s social and economic landscape. Tiffany brings the expertise needed to help guide our industry in this important evolution.”

Prior to joining CBAI, Ingram was owner of Renge Resolutions LLC, a regulatory policy and strategy consultancy. She previously served as an Associate Director of Government Affairs for Weedmaps, a publicly-traded technology platform and software provider, as well as the Deputy Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer for Policy and Legislation for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, coordinating the thirteen state agencies that have statutory authority related to cannabis. These positions follow years of additional government relations and advocacy work in the private and public sectors.

“I’m honored to work on behalf of cannabis businesses across Illinois to strengthen our industry, serve patients and consumers and invest in our communities,” said Ingram. “As our sector continues to expand, I look forward to working collaboratively to tap its fullest potential and diversity.”

Ingram holds a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College, earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and is licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois. She sits on the Triton College Foundation Board and was a board member for the Bellwood and Maywood Chambers of Commerce.

About the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois (CBAI)

The Cannabis Business Association of Illinois serves as the voice of Illinois’ cannabis industry by advocating for patient well-being, consumer safety, greater equity and inclusion, job creation, community investment and the responsible use of cannabis. CBAI is a non-profit association that represents more than 80% of all Illinois cannabis businesses licensed by the state of Illinois, as well as ancillary businesses that support the cannabis industry and social equity applicants.