Illinois County Requiring Dispensaries to Warn That ‘Cannabis Use May Contribute to Mental Health Problems’

The McHenry County, Illinois State Attorney is requiring adult-use cannabis dispensaries in the county to display signs that warn “cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems.”

Full story after the jump.

Cannabis dispensaries in McHenry County, Illinois are now required to display signs with a warning that “cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems” under “first-in-the-country” rules imposed by McHenry County State Attorney Patrick Kenneally, Axios reports. Businesses that don’t comply could face consumer fraud lawsuits from Kenneally.  

Kenneally defended the new order in a Chicago Tribune op-ed in which he suggests a “growing body of research” that “cannabis can … initiate and worsen depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and suicidal ideation, especially in young people.” He further claims that “about half” of the county’s recent homicides “involve cannabis or cannabis-induced psychosis” and that “cases of driving while under the influence of cannabis have doubled.” 

In a statement to Axios, the Illinois Cannabis Regulation Oversight Office said Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) was “disappointed to learn that the McHenry County state’s attorney prefers focusing on spreading disinformation instead of tackling the issues that actually keep residents safe.” 

“Legalizing adult-use cannabis has always been about justice, safety, and equity in Illinois,” the agency said in the statement. 

A group of Democratic state lawmakers, issued their own statement pushing back on Kenneally’s op-ed, saying he “carelessly conflates cannabis use with the most complex societal issues that our own Illinois researchers, institutions, and community leaders work collectively every day to further understand and improve upon.”  

“At best, Kenneally misleads weekend editorial readers,” the statement reads. “At worst, he continues an unfortunate tradition in American history of using hyperbole to vilify cannabis use and possession, including for medical purposes.” 

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