With only a month of predictable Midwestern warmth left, let’s see what Chicago’s cannabis scene’s summer loving looked like.
As the end of summer draws near, the sun is out and so is most of Chicago. There is not often a day in the city that is left without all green spaces packed, and a human soup filling Lake Michigan.
Those who have not yet left their homes for the day may muster an earthy aroma to leak out of the city’s organs (landlord-special’d, “vintage” apartments), possibly easier now having peeled off the winter window insulations.
The short, but cherished, Chicago summer means different habits than those left in winter. Different habits can include that of new cannabis products to best suit your wet-hot-kinda-sticky sun’s out, window a/c lifestyle.
With nothing on my mind but the sunshine and a lakefront breeze, let’s see some city folk’s summertime faves:
Indica Gummies at the Lake
Vikram, a graduate student whose last name is being withheld due to privacy reasons, shared that his current favorite way to enjoy cannabis in the summer is by “…popping an [Cannabis] indica gummy and sitting by Lake Michigan to enjoy the sunset with a book.”
Vikram explained that he likes to enjoy the effects of cannabis by spending time outside but he “won’t be smoking in the public, even if it was legal since it could disturb families.”
Making edibles was a perfect solution to getting high before heading to Millennium Park for a relaxed picnic or a dip in the lake.
His favorite edibles from Zen Leaf in the West Loop, Wana’s Cannabis indica 100mg blueberry gummy edible, relax his vibes.
Vikram’s summer habits turn out to be a little bit different than his cannabis habits in the wintertime. “I use cartridges at home during winter since I spend a lot more time indoors,” he said.
He shared that he always keeps spare cartridges handy in case of harsh snow days. This tactic is smart since in a brutal Chicago winter, cracking a window is not always an option.
So, to save your walls from residual smoke, and your neighbors from a dank-smelling building … a vape may be the easiest choice in terms of cannabis inhalants.
Of course, edibles are much better to consume indoors (and on your lungs!) when considering the potential collection of nasty residue on walls that can come from smoking inside without proper ventilation.
A Focus on Flexibility
Jeremy Waters of Logan Square said that he consumes cannabis the same way all year round with THC vape cartridges being his most frequented product. He explained, “The main reason [I vape] is the ease of consumption when on the go.”
This is particularly interesting in terms of Illinois cannabis law which allows consumption for those over 21 years of age, but no smoking in any public places (or, outwardly facing public spaces— like your porch.)
A compact vape will be easier to get around, especially on public transportation — between you and your buddy’s pads. It is also a less stinky solution, which can sometimes be difficult to avoid with actual cannabis flowers.
Without any particular partition on strains or flavors, Waters shared that his favorite THC vape brand is Verano but his favorite edible brand is Incredibles.
Despite visiting other dispensaries, he shared that “…their [nuEra] service and ambiance is better.”
Delta-8 Bedtime Nightcaps
Delta-8 THC has gained recent popularity, being a less-potent cannabis product alternative to delta-9 THC. This relaxing delta-8 experience has been the perfect nightcap for Pilsen couple Finch Garcia and James Rowland, who frequent Smoke Post CBD dispensaries.
Delta-8 is more accessible than that of the traditional delta-9, since it is federally legal. Delta-8 is derived from the hemp plant, not the marijuana flower — with less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC by weight it can be sold legally, almost everywhere nationwide.
Rowland shared his experience smoking new delta-8 products, “Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of the Blue Dream pre-rolls… [It] gets me the way that I want to feel without being too powerful or too unbalanced between a body high and a head high.”
Finch explained that the warmer weather has made it easier to enjoy a joint and company since the experience is predictable and makes them sleepy right before bed.
“Not really hav[ing] to worry about [it] being too cold or being too warm… because the evening air is kind of like the best weather for me in the summertime,” she said.
Regardless of how you enjoy cannabis in the summer, we know that the state of Illinois really has been enjoying legalization all year round.
For instance, Illinois’ state marijuana tax revenue jumped from over $52 million in 2020 to over $317 million in 2021 presenting a large uptick in Illinois state sales.
Between the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years total adult-use cannabis sales also rose by 50%.
So, you’ll probably still smoke that joint in November, but you might just have to wear a down coat over your pajama shorts. Though, you could make it easier on yourself and just melt into your couch with edibles or a quick rip from your vape.
Cannabis use is more accessible than ever before in the United States. You can buy cannabis gummies, flower and infused drinks within an hour in the city of Chicago, legally — despite tens of thousands Americans still remaining incarcerated for marijuana offenses.
The incarceration for marijuana offenses has disproportionately affected Black and brown communities, while cannabis legalization has brought great profits to mostly white business owners.
Consider supporting the Last Prisoner Project and their Release Programs to help bring justice to those impacted by the criminalization of cannabis.
You should also keep an eye on the development of Loretta and Priscilla Foster’s proposed Black-owned dispensary in Wicker Park, as well as Vic Mensa’s new weed brand, 93 Boyz — which just so happens to be the first Black-owned weed brand sold in Chicago dispensaries!
A great city perk is legal cannabis year-round, but cannabis equity is a continued fight across the city and country.
Header illustration by Madeline Smith