The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

'Weed Lollipops' a Hot Seller at Chicago Festivals, in the Loop, Owner Says

By DNAinfo Staff on September 13, 2013 2:16pm

Weed World Candies
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Jackie Kostek

LOGAN SQUARE — Call it a test bake.

An Atlanta-based company that sells "weed lollipops" is in Chicago, hawking its wares at local festivals, including this weekend's Riot Fest in Humboldt Park.

Weed World Candies brought three of its green ganja-inspired vans to Chicago after seeing the news that Illinois would become the 20th state in the country to legalize medicinal marijuana. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. For now, Chicago is considered a test market.

The potency of the pops varies depending on where they're being sold. The stuff being sold in Chicago is made from California hemp, though stripped of THC, the chemical that gets users high.

Judah Izsraael, a co-owner, said the Chicago lollipops can get you high — but he insists they're still legal. Chicago Police said they're investigating whether the special lollipops made for Chicago are, in fact, legal.

  Weed World Candies brought its green vans to Chicago after Illinois legalized medical marijuana.
Weed World Candies in Chicago
View Full Caption

After selling lollipops with names like Lemon Drop Kush to everyone from men in suits in the Loop to people at the North Coast Music Festival for more than a month, Izsraael said he's come to love Chicago and its weed-embracing population.

But while many Chicagoans want the sweet confections, the government hasn't shown it's quite ready for the treats, Izsraael said.

"People here are like they are everywhere. Everybody hates the prohibition of marijuana," Izsraael said"The market here in Chicago seems good, but we haven't been able to find it yet. You guys haven't gotten everything legalized yet."

The 43-year-old Izsraael said his business is part of a movement to show that weed should be legal, given it's a naturally grown product that can both heal and produce happiness.

Thirteen-year-old Weed World has a fleet of four vans, two Hummers and an RV ready to roll wherever marijuana has become legalized.

Three years ago, one of the vans was spotted during a Los Angeles Lakers championship celebration, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The green vans have gotten attention from New York City tabloids, with the Daily News focusing on the van, a Ford Econoline adorned with pot leaves and bikini-clad women, while the Post alleged the products didn't contain a trace of marijuana.

Izsraael rejected the Post's claims, though he acknowledged the potency of the lollipops is dependent on the state in which it's sold.

"You'd have to read stuff from more reputable people," Izsraael said.

The company hopes to make its mark on Chicago, Izsraael said.

"I'm into medicinal stuff and try whatever out there that is new," said Edgar Reyes, a 26-year-old Logan Square resident who got a free lollipop this week on top of paying $20 for four others. "I support this kind of thing."

While Izsraael and his employees call their work part of a movement, they treat it very much as a business, crisscrossing the city on a given day. On Thursday, one of the vans made deliveries in South Shore, the Loop and Logan Square, before planning to set up near Merchandise Mart.

"Our best customers are Downtown," said employee Genie Williams, 25. "You wouldn't think that because they're wearing suits."

On Wednesday, the company posted a YouTube video of attendees of the North Coast Festival in Union Park clamoring for the sweets. Within a few hours, about 700 lollipops were sold at $5 a pop, Williams said.

The crew expects good business at Riot Fest, which begins Friday in Humboldt Park. They expect to leave town and head South "once it gets cold," according to Williams.

Whether they will return remains in doubt, as they say hassling from police has been more prevalent in Chicago than other cities.

"We just tell them we're promoting our product. That's all," Izsraael said of cops' questions about their business.

"I can say this though: We love the people in Chicago."