ILLINOIS: A skunky aroma fills the room in which hundreds of lush marijuana plants grow, some nearly ready for harvest.
Grower Ashley Thompson, a former high school agriculture teacher in this rural part of southeastern Illinois, takes the scent of weed home with her.
She doesn’t mind. It’s the fragrance of money and jobs.
“My family says I smell,” said Thompson, who quit the classroom to work for Ataraxia, one of a handful of cultivation centers in Illinois, which is one of 23 states with medical marijuana. “I can’t tell though.”
The Associated Press recently gained an exclusive look at Illinois’ first legal marijuana crop, and the new farmland ritual beginning amid surrounding cornfields in the historic town of Albion: the harvest of medical marijuana that will soon be sold in dispensaries around the state.