Cannabis legalization has brought a lot of joy and economic opportunity for many in Illinois and with this joy and opportunity came a plethora of laws, rules, and regulations. Luckily for us, Eric M. White, Attorney at Law, attended our third panel discussion (Cannabis is Legal, So Now What?) where he gave great advice to all in attendance. But The Doobie Room had a few more questions (we’re curious people), so here he is with an informative follow-up interview.

1.) Thank you for attending Part Three of The Doobie Room’s series “Cannabis is Legal. So, Now What? Out of all the Cannabis events in Chicago, why was it important for you to attend Part Three of this discussion?


It was very important for me to attend The Doobie Room’s cannabis event because I was
invited by someone in your organization who thought it was a good idea for someone
like me to connect with this good group and good forum. Networking in this new
industry is important too and a great opportunity to share information or learn from
others.

2.) At our panel discussion, you mentioned that you were once a police officer, and now you are an attorney. What lead to this transition? How has your experience as a police officer helped you as an attorney?


This is my 10th year as an attorney and being an attorney was my true calling in life. This
journey began for me in 1990 and I have been very fortunate to be employed in several
professions along the way. Being employed as a police officer was a rewarding
profession too. The training I received was impactful and continues to stay with me
today. I also have a unique ability to better understand police nomenclature than most
attorneys and I can provide a different perspective to my clients when explaining police
processes, police culture and police policies.

3.) Why are you now rebranding yourself as a Cannabis attorney? What needs in this
industry are you fulfilling?


The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act has created a new area of law in Illinois that will
soon have its own developing body of case law and regulations. I am a pioneer but so
are my clients and the issues will be broad. From cultivators concerns to employment
matters and let us not forget that cannabis related criminal prosecutions will continue in
this state with vigor. The law is almost 1000 pages packed full of regulations and pitfalls
that will create problems for individuals or businesses too. My mission is to help these
individuals and businesses solve their cannabis law problems.

4.) What are some extremely unlawful activities you see occurring now in the Cannabis industry or the black market that could lead to potential trouble?


The cannabis industry in Illinois is three months old, the dispensaries cannot meet the
real demand of the real consumers of cannabis right now in Illinois and the black market
will probably continue, along with the prosecutions. However, what is most concerning
for me is that many individuals and businesses came together in pursuit of the various
licenses under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and now these individuals and
businesses are now prohibited to participate in the black market going forward or
possess/consume cannabis outside the regulations of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax
Act or risk losing their ability to gain or retain a cannabis business license. For example,
if one member of a legal cannabis business gets in trouble for participating in the black
market the entire organization will now be in risk of losing it’s cannabis business license.

5.) Recently, I was hanging out during the NBA All Star Weekend. I was in line at a party and I heard someone behind me say, “ Isn’t weed legal in Chicago now? I’m about to light this blunt up right here.” How do you think Chicago and Illinois will or should balance the lure of weed smoking tourists (and the money they bring) and legal cannabis consumption/usage?


The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act gives local governments along with its residents
the power to craft laws for cannabis related businesses or prohibit where or how these
businesses can operate. The law was recently amended to restrict public consumption
to dispensaries and tobacco shops. The City of Chicago has tabled it’s draft ordinance
for $4000.00 consumption licenses but I do see some of the suburbs taking advantage of
the potential need to create a friendly cannabis business environment for onsite
cannabis consumption for adult use and onsite consumption for tourist demands.

6.) What are your thoughts about the overall expungement process for cannabis convictions in Illinois? What opportunities are there for individuals in the cannabis industries once their cannabis conviction has been expunged?


I am a critic of the policies created under the law regarding expungements and the
processes developed to have your convictions expunged. What I would like to see is an
internet site developed that anyone can visit and see a list of all the case numbers
eligible for expungements in Illinois along with a countdown clock denoting when or if an automatic expungement will take place on the case. Right now not many opportunities
are available but hopefully some group gets a cannabis business license on the promise
to higher individuals with cannabis convictions.

7.) I guess the most important follow-up question is: where’s the first place one should look to get their records expunged, if they are eligible?


Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act cannabis arrest or convictions involving less
than 30 grams will be expunged automatically and arrest or convictions for 30 grams or
more would be subject to a judicial approval and a petition to the court by the arrestee.

8.) What professional advice are you able to offer specifically to Social Equity applicants and future individuals looking to enter the Cannabis industry? How can people in the industry and those interested in entering the industry be lawful? 


If you are a social equity applicant and you get awarded a license to operate a cannabis
business in Illinois then it is imperative that you secure good competent professional
legal services for your business. The same advice also applies to individuals looking to
operate a cannabis business in the future and to people in the industry looking to remain
lawful.

9.) How can people get in touch with you?


If you are an individual or business with cannabis law problems or if you want to learn
more about your Illinois Cannabis Rights then please contact me by phone at 708-792-
3755 or visit me via the Illinois Cannabis Rights website at
www.illinoiscannabisrights.com or you can follow me on Twitter @ewhiteesq1.