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As legal cannabis goes into effect, proponents of medical cannabis, social equity have concerns

On paper, Jose Gonzalez seems unlikely to be hesitant about legalizing recreational cannabis in Illinois. 

As executive director of Educated Alternative — an Oak Lawn-based nonprofit that provides assistance to people seeking medical cannabis — Gonzalez has no problem with the drug. He’s used it for most of his life. But with anticipated cannabis shortages and local regulations not yet entirely decided, Gonzalez said he’s concerned the sudden uptick in recreational use will leave patients in Illinois’ existing medical cannabis program behind. 

“We’re putting a lot of importance on the recreational program, which doesn’t serve the patients of Illinois well,” Gonzalez said. “The state put way too fast a deadline on sales, not allowing cultivation facilities and dispensaries to properly ramp up.” 

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