There were 37 persons in attendance at this week’s meeting.  Representing the village was Alan Berkowsky, Winnetka’s Fire Chief, Terry Dason representing the Chamber of Commerce and Jess Rutstein was filling in for Allie Sarwark of the Winnetka Youth Organization.
David Birkenstein introduced the day’s speaker, Mahja Sulemanjee Bortocek who is the Director of Community Outreach at the Greenhouse Group.  He spoke about the recently legalized use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Greenhouse operates three medical cannabis dispensaries in the greater metropolitan area of Chicago. 
Medical research has confirmed the benefits of cannabis in the treatment of pain.  Also research is being conducted on the curative effects of cannabis.  Greenhouse’s mission is to help its customers get more out of life.  Most parts of the cannabis plant can be used; the dried leaves, the flowers, the stems and the seeds.  Legal cannabis is tested for potency, contaminants and pesticides.  We were told it is easy to track the cannabis if an issue arises or a particular problem occurs in a given batch as records are kept on the specific type of cannabis each patient receives.
There are 85 active ingredients (cannabinoids) in cannabis that have an affect on the human body.  Cannabis can be administered in a number of different ways:  smoke or vapor, tincture or sublingual, oils (usual method for cancer patients), edibles, topical (generally used for arthritis), transdermal and via a suppository.  Dosage can be controlled in dispensing cannabis.  When smoking cannabis one can feel the effects within 30 to 50 seconds and it can last for 2 hours.  Cancer patients using cannabis oils experience the effects in 1 – 2 hours and they last for 6 – 8 hours.
Mahja said that a person could not overdose on legal cannabis.  Patients are requested to keep a log of the use of cannabis and its effects.  This information is used for additional research.  Persons interested in cannabis for medical use must be residents of Illinois with a qualifying medical condition.  One also needs a signed physicians certificate and they will be fingerprinted.
State requirements include all purchases must be paid in cash and there is only one bank (in Springfield) where the money must be deposited by the cannabis dispensary.