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Redbirds going green with Cannabis Club

Written by on February 23, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. –  The newly founded Cannabis Club at Illinois State University aims to destigmatize cannabis use and provide students who would like to join the cannabis industry with a space to organize and collaborate.

President of Cannabis Club and ISU student, Jackie Heim, believes that stigmatization of cannabis is unwarranted, and cannabis should be treated the same as alcohol and prescription drugs.

“We need to get past the lazy stoner myth, and we need to bring cannabis to the forefront of conversation,” stated Heim. “And not everyone is there yet, a lot of people I know subscribe to that untrue stereotype.  Cannabis is a legal entity in the state, and it should not be stigmatized.”

Heim also claimed that users could help eliminate cannabis stigmatization by being open about their usage. 

“Bringing it up in conversation would be the best way the average ISU student could help destigmatize it.  I enjoy talking to anybody about cannabis.  I work at Beyond Hello in Bloomington, and some of my favorite customers are the unexpected ones, like older people.  I love talking to them about their symptoms and helping them find the right product,”

While Cannabis Club aims to destigmatize the drug, it also aims to help open the eyes of others to it’s benefits.

“We need to let people know that there’s a lot more to cannabis, it can be so helpful for so many people.  I don’t think people understand how beneficial the plant can be,” Heim said.

Heim has ambitions to start a cannabis curriculum at ISU, inspired by nine Illinois universities that have recently started offering similar curriculum.

“Right now, since there is no cannabis curriculum at ISU, one of our clubs’ major goals is to make sure that the people who are interested in going into cannabis have access to the much needed information and materials,” Heim said.

Cannabis Club held their first meeting last Monday, where they discussed the goals of the club.  The club aspires to be active within the community and conduct volunteering work.  Heim claims that being active in the community will help the de-stigmatization process, by showing that cannabis users have initiative within the community.

In addition to Cannabis Club, ISU offers classes that can be beneficial to students who want to be involved in the cannabis industry.

“Intro to horticulture is very beneficial, as well as intro to agronomy,” said Heim. “Agronomy really gets into the biological aspects of plants, and we touch on industrial hemp a lot in the class.  My agricultural economics course was also very interesting to relate to the cannabis industry, and how the current controls on the market have affected the cannabis industry.”  

Heim also claims that government actions, such as the war on drugs, have contributed to cannabis’ stigmatization.

“It’s been almost a century of our government telling us that cannabis is bad.  The war on drugs has been going on for my entire lifetime and before, and I feel like that leaves us stuck with this major stigma to the industry.  I really think federal legalization will help people realize cannabis is a viable business,” Heim said.

Heim is also disappointed that the Normal Town Council recently rejected a plan to open a new dispensary.

“It’s unfortunate that so many people in our town view cannabis as something terrible,” Heim stated. “Every time I see a news article about a new dispensary opening up, I always see comments saying that there will be more crime and damage to the community, but there is so much evidence that contradicts that.” 

Cannabis Club will be holding their next meeting on Feb, 27 at 1:00 p.m. in the Ropp Agriculture Building.