Special Series

Special Series: SIU 150, Southern Illinois Music Festival, Southern Illinois Wonders, The Story Tellers, The State of Cannabis, Out of Reach: Illinois' Affordable Housing Crisis, and more...

There are just weeks left until adult-use recreational cannabis becomes legal in Illinois. While many consumers have been looking forward to that day since lawmakers passed the legislation in May, cultivators have been scrambling to prepare for the demand.

WCBU’s Dana Vollmer visited one central Illinois producer to see how preparation efforts are going.

What To Know About Recreational Cannabis On Campus

Dec 18, 2019

On a recent Thursday, a small group of Northern Illinois University students took their seats at an open forum to discuss recreational cannabis. It will be legal in Illinois soon.

Administrators wanted to make one thing clear: marijuana will still be banned on NIU’s campus.

That’s mostly because of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.    

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Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University's iconic Old Main building burned in 1969. While the structure is gone, remnants can still be found.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana. That makes the state the 11th to approve recreational use.

Illinois is poised to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana after lawmakers approved a massive 610-page proposal that is touted as one of the most equitable in the country. 

You've heard a series of reports on the potential expansion of Cannabis in Illinois.

For WNIJ reporter Sarah Jesmer, her reporting created more questions than answers.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to legalize recreational marijuana to provide an economic boost for the state. At Rock Island’s Augustana College, students have different reasons behind their perspective, but as reporter Natalie Spahn found out, many identify themselves in the "pro" category.

Logan Chase wants his customers to know what they’re smoking.

“If I see something that I've never tried before,” he said, “I take it upon myself to try it.”

For decades, it was "marijuana" and conjured images of tie-dyed T-shirts and hemp hoodies. Now, it's "cannabis" and you're more likely to picture lab coats and business suits. Our series State of Cannabis continues with a look at the evolution of the public's attitudes. 

It’s Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day at Northern Illinois University, a day when students show off their hard work at the end of the semester.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says she’s concerned about how legalization could impact the juveniles she works with on a daily basis. She’s also concerned about how the state will address cannabis impaired driving.

Behind a tall security fence and countless coded keypads, the future of the Delavan economy is growing under bright lights.

In today’s legal marijuana market, there is more than just a typical joint to get high. There are cookies, gummies, weed-infused drinks and more. But, there are few studies available in the United States that examine the long-term effects of these different products.

Cannabis Merges Into Health Care

May 1, 2019

We are taking a closer look at what the legalization of cannabis could mean for Illinois. The State of Cannabis is a collaborative reporting effort by public radio stations across the state. This piece in the series looks at the potential health care considerations of recreational marijuana.

Can Cannabis Help Patients Avoid Opioids?

May 1, 2019
Chuck Herrera/Pixabay

WSIU and Illinois Newsroom reported this story as part of a weeklong series from public radio stations around the state focusing on the potential impact of marijuana legalization.

Since February, patients in Illinois have been able to swap their opioid prescriptions for marijuana. And many are doing just that.

They’re part of a program designed to let patients who might not qualify for the state’s regular medical marijuana program exchange an opioid prescription, like Oxycontin, for weed.

When Illinois issued the first licenses for medical marijuana businesses in 2015, almost all the recipients were white. We look at what a more racially diverse marketplace might look like if the state legalizes recreational use. From WBEZ in Chicago, Susie An reports.

Northwestern Illinois’ Stephenson County is one area where changes in the status of cannabis are being embraced. The people doing it are not necessarily the ones you’d expect.

Existing rules around the Illinois medical cannabis program could make the rollout for recreational use a less daunting task. But there are plenty of unanswered questions at the federal level which could complicate the process.

This week, public radio station across Illinois are tackling a once taboo topic.

The O'Hern family in west central Illinois has long been involved in traditional farming. They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat, plus they raise cattle. In the last few years they have added another crop to their repertoire: medical marijuana.

In Illinois, Cannabis Is The Talk Of The Towns

Apr 29, 2019

This week, public radio station across Illinois are tackling a once taboo topic.

Affordable housing issues often get media attention when property prices soar due to spiking economic development or when property prices tumble due to dramatic industry decline, but that narrative is incomplete.

Amelia Blakely

Friday morning, alumni and their families, along with Southern Illinois University Carbondale adminstration, staff, faculty, and students, gathered around Shryock Auditorium to celebrate the alumni Facebook group, "Carbondale in the 80's and 90's," for giving the most gifts for an non-academic unit and endowing two new scholarships.

Struggling for Housing

Mar 29, 2019
Steph Whiteside/WSIU

In the course of reporting my previous story on the gap between wages and the cost of housing, I spent time following a case manager with the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless.

During that time, I met several people who shared their stories of how they struggled to find housing and how the coalition has helped them.

Every person who is homeless has their own story. But the two below are examples of common reasons for homelessness -- living on a fixed income and finding housing after being released from prison.

Donna: Living on Disability

In Illinois, there are only 35 affordable housing units for every 100 families considered extremely low-income, according to Housing Action Illinois, a housing advocacy organization.

Housing Choice Voucher, also known as Section 8, is a federal program designed to make market-rate apartments accessible to people who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. The voucher program covers part of the rent for around 97,000 families in Illinois.

In response to a call for questions on affordable housing, one Illinois Newsroom listener asked: “How does Section 8 work? It seems like a great program in theory that also seems really hard for families to access in practice.”

For Low Wage Workers Housing is Out of Reach

Mar 19, 2019

An estimated 10,643 people in Illinois are homeless according to federal data. Many of those are working - but still can’t make ends meet.

For the Stephens family, it all began with a landlord who refused to make repairs to their rental home.

“Our roof was a joke,” Jenny Stephens said. “Our roof had a big old huge hole in it, gaping hole. And when it snowed, we had snow in our kitchen.”

Many communities in Illinois have rules that say renters can lose their housing if someone in the home is connected to a crime. City leaders who back the policies say the rules make neighborhoods safer. But fair housing advocates question the tactics.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU's John Jackson, who edited Southern Illinois University at 150 Years: Growth, Accomplishments, and Challenges.

 

The Quad Cities are divided by the Mississippi River along the Illinois-Iowa border. They all took a big hit during the 1980’s farm crisis, and were left with abandoned warehouses and other buildings.

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Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Part of SIU-Carbondale's 3rd annual Day of Giving included the kickoff of the school's 150th anniversary celebration.
 
During an event Wednesday at Morris Library, a huge gift box opened with students dancing to celebrate the many different career paths offered at SIU-C.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Interim SIUC Chancellor John Dunn about the school's 150th Anniversary, along with the annual Day of Giving campaign.

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