Rockford-area businesses find new ways to capitalize on cannabis legalization

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A few years after Illinois ok’d the use of recreational cannabis products, business owners say the future of cannabinoids looks bright. Lawmakers passed HB1438 by only 66-47. A good percentage of politicians didn’t like the idea, but those in Springfield, and local business owners, say the stigma is lessening.

“When I see how far this conversation has come in the last four to five years, I would not have believed that at the start of this process that we would be where we are,” said Jehan Gordon-Booth, 92nd District representative.

However, it wasn’t just your classic dispensaries that opened in the stateline.

“Three years ago I was a lawyer, I was doing civil litigation and wasn’t involved in the cannabis industry. That was the furthest thing from my mind,” said Erik Carlson, co-owner of Buckbee Weed Co.

Not only did Carlson get involved in the cannabusiness, he also opened a cannabinoid-inspired bakery in March of 2022.

“People really love the fact that they can come in and get a delicious latte, a delicious cappuccino, have that infused with their CBD, CBG, Delta 8, THC, really whatever cannabinoid they want,” he said.

On Thursday, the newest eatery with cannabis infused food will have its grand opening. The Canna-Café will be located on Spring Creek Road. It will be a part of the Hemp Center.

“A lot of people are coming in and didn’t realize that you can have like teas and coffees, and some of the food kind of kind of goes with it. So we wanted to bring a kind of casual café mixed with the retail aspect,” said one of the owners, Lola Renner.

Both Carlson and Renner agree, the stigma around cannabis use is slowly disappearing. They hope more education will help people realize its health benefits.

“If you have a medical issue or arthritis and you take a product and it’s working you wanna know why or how, so we’re here to educate, which I think is really important,” Renner said.

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