The RISE Recreational Dispensary in Lake in the Hills is one of four licensed dispensaries in McHenry County that will be required to comply with new requirements announced Friday by the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office or face legal action. | Photo: RISE

The McHenry County state’s attorney is threatening to sue cannabis dispensaries in McHenry County unless they warn customers of the potential mental health effects of cannabis.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said the use of cannabis can be associated with psychosis, depression and suicidal ideation.

Kenneally announced Friday that cannabis dispensaries in McHenry County will now be required to warn customers of those potential side effects or the businesses could face consumer fraud action.

McHenry County dispensaries will be the first in the country to post such warnings.

Dispensaries will also be prohibited from making “false claims that cannabis has any medical benefits” in their product marketing materials and online content, Kenneally said.

Dispensaries that have refused to warn consumers will face litigation brought by the state’s attorney’s office.

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Two different warnings will required to be posted prominently in the dispenaries.

“WARNING: Cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems, including psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, increased thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts, anxiety, and depression. Risk is greatest for frequent users,” one of the required signs will say.

The second required sign will warn customers that the FDA has not approved cannabis for the treatment of any disease or medical condition.

Kenneally, citing the Surgeon General, CDC and other agencies, said there is a “clear association” between cannabis use and schizophrenia.

“A robust and growing body of research similarly establishes that cannabis can initiate and worsen depression, bipolar, anxiety, and suicidal ideation,” Kenneally said.

The state’s attorney said Illinois and its regulatory agencies have “done nothing” to warn consumers of the potential effects.

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He said regulatory agencies have also failed to stop cannabis dispensaries that flout the law by “brazenly making ‘health, medicinal, and therapeutic’ claims about their products.”

Kenneally said suicides nearly doubled in 2022 and cannabis was the most common drug found in the blood samples of those individuals. He also said hospitalizations for suicidal ideation have increased significantly since 2020.

Approximately half of recent murders involve cannabis or cannabis-induced psychosis, he said, adding that driving under the influence of cannabis cases have doubled.

The state’s attorney’s office said some dispensaries in the county have already negotiated in good faith with the office regarding the new requirements but those who refuse to comply will face a lawsuit.