In this episode of Restarting America, Josh Gibbs from 97 Switch interviews Maryann Loncar, a cannabis advocate who has helped craft legislation in Illinois for the last 15 years. Throughout the interview, they discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and society. Loncar shares how the current health pandemic has affected her work and how she is adapting to new circumstances.
Loncar co-wrote the first Illinois Industrial Hemp bill SB1294. She also helped secure the passing of the current hemp bill SB2298 and co-wrote the current Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in Illinois. Loncar worked on both sides of the aisle to build consensus among Democrats and Republicans to gain votes for the bill's passage. She was instrumental in pushing legislators to add military veterans in writing to HB1. She has traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate on a federal level for veterans.
During her time in Washington, D.C., Loncar was asked to participate in discussions with military veterans on PTS. Maryann is currently working with veterans to move bills forward on a federal level. The CARES Act currently allows The Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to military veterans suffering from serious injuries or chronic conditions like post-traumatic stress in states where it is legal. She fought tirelessly to ensure the epileptic and sick children would be included in this legislation.
Loncar is one of the board members of Illinois Agri-Women. She is working in the industry, processing hemp and helping Illinois farmers be successful in growing this type of hemp. She is also working with the country of Croatia, her parent’s homeland, to help grow her cousin’s hemp fields. Her dream is to move the world forward and allow all farmers access to this plant.