Illinois MMJ News

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by Jonah Raskin, November 22, 2017

Permits from the city for the Emporium—a combination bar and arcade on Divisadero—dragged on and the Chicago-born and raised entrepreneur, Danny Marks began to fret.

“I asked a friend if I was supposed to grease the wheels,” he explained in the hollowed-out space of the old Harding Theater that opened in 1926, and that was named after the twenty-ninth U.S. President.

“No,” he was told. “Things just move slowly in San Francisco.”

Still, on a recent Wednesday morning, with the forty-fifth president in the White House, electricians, carpenters, plumbers and contractors dashed this way and that way. Next-door neighbors gaped at the multi-million-dollar makeover, while Danny Marks himself poured over blueprints and wondered when his big project might be completed.

As he knew, it’s far more challengingly to build, or rebuild or renovate in San Francisco in 2017 than it was 1926. Materials cost more and skilled labor is harder to come-by; most workers can’t afford to live in the city and so they commute three-hours round trip to get to and from the job. Then, too, projects take much longer to complete, with or without payoffs, bribes and the less blatant forms of corruption that once tainted the construction industry.

Danny Marks grew up in the 1980s and 1990s when he played the kinds of video games that he’s bringing back to the Emporium. He’s also a throw back, at least in his thinking, to an earlier era when entrepreneurs greased the wheels on a regular basis.

If he were to be faulted for suggestion that he had pay off an inspector, he ought to be forgiven.

After all, in Chicago, his hometown, that’s how business was conducted, at least in the 1960s and 1970s when his parents, Jerald and Pamela Marks, built,

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Illinois State Senator Don Harmon is set to introduce a bill to allow people prescribed opioids for a medical condition to apply for a temporary medical cannabis card instead in an effort to help curb the state’s opioid epidemic.

In a press release, Harmon, a Democrat, pointed to research that shows “medical cannabis is a safe alternative treatment for the same conditions for which opioids are prescribed.”

“Clearly what we’re doing now is not working,” Harmon said in a statement. “This is a problem that touches citizens in every corner of our state. Medical cannabis is the most readily available alternative, but we should consider any other option that reduces the carnage inflicted by the opioid epidemic.”

In Illinois, the opioid-related death rate has increased 120 percent from 2014 to 2015, and nationally opioid-related drug overdoses topped 60,000 in 2016 – higher than the total number of U.S. soldier fatalities during the Vietnam War, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention figures.

Harmon plans to introduce the legislation during the second week of the state’s veto session. Illinois legalized cannabis for medical use in 2013.

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