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Cannabis Conference Brings Thousands to Illinois

Updated: Wednesday, June 11 2014, 11:17 PM CDT

CHICAGO -- Information and education is power and thousands of people descended upon Navy Pier to be empowered at the first ever Chicago Cannabis Conference.

Many of the attendees are battling health ailments.

"Seizures, epilepsy type seizures," said Lorraine Denardis, a Lisle resident.

Renee Petro traveled all the way from Tampa, Florida.

"I am a mom of a very sick child who unfortunately couldn't be here with me today because he has a rare seizure disorder so traveling is very difficult for him but I'm also a 'CannaMom'," said Petro.

Petro gives her son hemp oil to ease his severe seizures and mental break downs.

"Brandon is utilizing an industrial hemp oil that's helping him focus better, think better," said Petro.

"This is not marijuana. This is derived from industrial hemp, they use the mature stocks and they pull out this CBD, this cannabidiol extracts," said Robert Streisfeld, a natural health consultant.

Many businesses in attendance were ready to cash in on Illinois' medical cannabis law.

"We're looking to get into edibles for alternative use. Instead of people smoking it, or taking it in a pill form or prescription, we want to be able to have options for children or the terminally ill," said Abby Zukowski, owner of Life's Sweeter Side.

FOX's Tisha Lewis reports at Rush University Medical Center doctors are still skeptical about the long-term effects of medicinal marijuana.

"So we can't say conclusively that these modalities are safe for patients to use... The Illinois Department of Public Health has not set up standards for the prescription of marijuana yet. We're told it could be as early as the fall, said Dr. Sean O'Mahony.

O'Mahony says many patients aren't waiting until then.

"Many of our patients are already using marijuana which they're purchasing on the street. Of course there are no standards for safe use," said O'Mahony.

"I think you have to start somewhere and for the most part it's what we've done. We're bringing everyone together so we can get the word out and educate everyone," said Deandre Allen, organizer of the Chicago Cannabis Conference.

Cannabis Conference Brings Thousands to Illinois


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