Editor’s Note: The below opinion piece was written by KingClouds710
As a Veteran and registered Illinois medical patient, I thought this would finally be the year that I would be able to participate in the High Times Cannabis Cup Illinois and snag one of those cannabis cup kits, but because of sign-up issues, expensive prices, and lack of locations below Chicago, that was not how it worked out.
Using this link, I signed up for the solventless concentrate, provided my email, and clicked next to find out where to get my goodies. Boom! I got hit with a double-error code.
Next, I discovered the kits are first come, first serve. Okay, I understand that as part of a sound business model. For businesses and for the competition, this would be the most efficient way for them to ensure that all of the kits get into the connoisseur’s hands to be able to be judged for the event. This was easily mitigated by an earlier alarm and a considerable amount of caffeine for the purpose of being in line in time to get my hands on said cannabis cup kit.
However, the most concerning issue for me was the fact that nearly every official intake and retailer partners selling the cannabis cup kits are located in the Chicagoland area. Only two downstate dispensaries are selling cannabis cup kits: Springfield (Ascend Springfield) that serves central Illinois and Fairview Heights (Ascend Fairview Heights) that basically serves an expanded St. Louis area. This lack of access excludes a vast portion of the people of central and southern Illinois.
The cost of the kits alone are in the hundreds of dollars, and to top those bitters, High Times Cannabis Cup Illinois adds an additional day of driving when considering the time needed for a round trip. This competition feels exclusive to Chicago, but for central and southern Illinoisans, most things that happen in this state feel that way.
As a medical patient, I believe that the kits should be more easily accessible for medical patients below Chicago. The Medical Cannabis Patient Program, after all, opened the door for recreational legalization to happen in the first place.
It is bad enough that my closest dispensary is a monthly three-hour round trip, and now I would have to drive twelve hours to pay-to-play? I really wanted to participate in the High Times Cannabis Cup Illinois this year, but the exclusion of most central and southern Illinoisans from access to the kits has made it more trouble than it’s worth.
For more news about the Illinois cannabis industry, click here.