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B-N Cannabis Users Support Legalization But Would Stick With Medical Program

Alice Moss poses
Ryan Denham
Alice Moss is a medical cannabis user who supports legalization of recreational marijuana.

Four years ago, Alice Moss came home from work and walked into a nightmare.

Her partner had shot himself. He later died about a long hospitalization.

Moss said the trauma was impossible to escape. They had worked together at a Bloomington factory.

“It was hard for me to resume normal, everyday life. Still, to this day, talking about it makes me sad. It makes me hurt,” Moss said.

Two years ago, the 66-year-old from Bloomington-Normal got some relief. She joined the state’s medical cannabis program to help with her PTSD. That’s one of over three dozen qualifying conditions. Today, Moss and 61,000 other qualifying patients are part of the state's program.

Moss gets her medicine from The Green Solution in Normal, one of 55 dispensaries in Illinois.

Moss said cannabis relaxes her. It helps her not think about what happened four years ago.

“It has helped me function. It has helped me get back to my everyday life. And I think that it’s safer. I’m so glad they did that, as opposed to asking me to have a drink of alcohol,” Moss said.

Moss said she supports efforts to legalize recreational marijuana. The Illinois Senate approved the plan Wednesday, and the House is expected to vote on it before the legislative session ends Friday.

Moss said she thinks it will lower crime.

“Sometimes we get stuck as we age. And because for so long it’s been illegal. If people would start opening up their minds—we’ve got a new generation of people. I don’t think young people prefer to drink alcohol as opposed to recreational marijuana. I think it’s needed,” Moss said.

Moss said she plans to continue to get cannabis through the medical program, because she feels safest doing that.

Finding Purpose

Tyler Hargis, 27, of Bloomington, plans to stay with the medical program too, even if recreational marijuana is legalized. Hargis uses the drug to cope with the seizures he’s had for about six years.

Tyler Hargis
Credit Ryan Denham / WGLT
Tyler Hargis of Bloomington uses medical cannabis to help cope with his seizures.

“There will probably be patients that don’t stay with that program. But there are also right now people who don’t have a (qualifying) condition that are now ruining their medical record, because they have to tell people I have this, this, and this,” Hargis said. “I have anxiety and depression and things like that. But if I had cannabis and I didn’t have to go to a doctor about it, it wouldn’t be on my record that I have anxiety and depression because it wouldn’t exist. I’d be taking care of myself.”  

Hargis said cannabis has helped him physically. But he said the social and emotional effects have been life-changing too. It’s his purpose. He’s the founder of the Central Illinois Cannabis Community, a social and support group for users. He’s also found a new career; he previously worked for a dispensary and now works for Revolution Enterprises, which has a cultivation facility in Delavan.

Hargis said he supports recreational legalization for many reasons. He said the drug war has been unfair to black communities and young people. He used cannabis as a teen, and when he got into trouble he said that was a strike against him and his future.

“It would take a giant red mark off of people at a young age who do those things,” Hargis said.

Hargis said he has a close relative who’s an alcoholic. But “I’m not going to go to Congress and say, ‘Take away their ability to use alcohol because some people in our society are going to abuse it.’”

“We’re smart people. I think we’d figure it out,” Hargis said.

Full GLT Story

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.