CHICAGO (CBS) — Coming up in two weeks in downtown Chicago, an underground industry will step into the spotlight, at a symposium on marijuana growing.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the National Cannabis Industry Association, or NCIA, foresees 1,000 jobs will be generated due to the legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois.

“There are cultivation facilities, of which there will be 22 in Illinois; the dispensary facilities, of which there will be 60 in Illinois; and the people who make the infused products – things like lotions and lozenges, so that people who might not necessarily want to inhale marijuana through smoking or vaporizing will have other ways to consume it,” said NCIA deputy director Betty Aldworth.

Then there’s the white collar support any serious business needs, like accountants who specialize in marijuana revenues and taxes, Aldworth said.

“Software providers, insurance providers, attorneys, and others; all will be providing services for these businesses,” she said. “One thing that will be very important in Illinois is safety and potency testing, so analytical laboratories are needed as well, to ensure that the medicine that’s being provided is safe and of a known potency.”

The medial marijuana measure in Illinois establishes a four-year pilot program to allow patients with debilitating illnesses to legally obtain and use marijuana to alleviate their pain.

Conditions that would qualify a person to get medical marijuana would include cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, and more.

Medical marijuana could be purchased from one of 60 dispensing centers that would be established throughout the state. Patients could not grow their own marijuana. Rather, 22 growing centers would be overseen by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Dispensary workers would have to undergo background checks, and stores would be monitored by surveillance cameras 24 hours a day.

The $350-per-ticket Cannabusiness Symposium & Networking Reception on Aug. 24 at the Embassy Suites Chicago – Downtown,
600 N. State St., is designed for entrepreneurs and potential investors in the state’s soon-to-blossom medical marijuana business.

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