The problem at head shops, as I understood it, was that if >50% of their business was related to illegal activity, the business itself wouldn’t be able to keep its license. So head shops would sell clothes and statues and whatever else they could, combine multiple businesses into one, and insist that their smoking implements were for tobacco, all to keep that total percentage down. They—not the police—were insistent on the game so that the business could remain “ignorant” of what the customer (potentially an undercover cop) was doing with their purchase.
So your local hardware store that sells materials which can be used for precisely the same illegal activities has never had this concern—they have no difficulty establishing that they are (also) a legitimate business. Generally speaking if you go to a gardening store, there is not and has never been a need for euphemism. (What kind of paper trail you leave is entirely up to you, of course.)
Since vaping has taken off, most head shops have converted to vape shops, since vaping purchases are legal and monetarily overwhelms their sales of “water pipes” and “herb burners”
Aside from the business concern about you mentioning it that Disgscen discusses, there is the question of what you are saying.
Looking at IllinoisPolicy.org it appears that home growing for recreational use is not allowed at this time.
It is not criminal for up to 5 plants even without a prescription card. Still you could potentially be publicly stating intent to commit an act that crosses the line into criminal for larger indoor gardens. You might even have an intent that crosses the line from civil infraction into criminality. If the employee or any random passerby wants to call the police, claim your were buying more stuff than needed for a permitted crop, and pass along your license plate (after they followed you into the parking lot) it could cause legal hassles.
It might be in your best interest to state your intent as wanting to grow legal quantities of “medical marijuana” up front. I had a bag that tested positive for exposure to explosives while flying. It had been. The exposure was perfectly legal. Still the experience involved unneeded hassle from me. I was a lot more careful about flying civilian with stuff that had been recently exposed to explosives after that. In your case slipping in that adjective before marijuana may reduce your hassle.
I’ve shopped in Pennsylvania hydroponic stores. Personal grows have never been legal here. Educate yourself before going to the store, then take a hint from the way the salespeople behave.
My first time buying nutes I was a little nervous. The store actually had a sign that read, “we are happy to make suggestions about your tomato plants”. By the third or fourth trip to the store, I was no longer a stranger, and the guy I talked to waited until nobody else was in the store, then he started talking “openly” with me. We shared experiences, he asked my opinion on a few issues, and from then on I was “cool”.
But for your first visit, just listen to how the salespeople are talking and match them. And really, there’s little reason to mention weed. If your plants are dropping fan leaves, you can just say, “hey, my plants were doing great and now they’re dropping leaves” and they’ll know what you mean.
I don’t see why there’s any need to be nervous or “play games” at a gardening outlet, especially hydro stores.
The latter probably do most of their business with dope growers, but there are plenty of indoor gardeners like me who grow tropicals and seedlings of flowering plants and vegetables under lights. Stores don’t care what category you fit into. They’ll happily sell you lights, growing medium and pricey fertilizers whatever you plan to do with them.
Do your research online or wherever, then buy what you want. Pay cash and wear noseglasses and a wig if it makes you feel better. I highly doubt that narcs are staking out the parking lot these days.
When I was growing, sop was to make your purchases at the Hydroshop using cash, load up your car, then drive a circuitous route home while minding your rear view. It was also considered wise to dispose of your empty nutrient bottles somewhere other than in your home garbage and to carefully compost stems and trim.
It all sounds silly, but I followed “the rules”. Stay below the radar and tell no one; why not?
I was unaware that under Illinois’ new pot legalization statute, only those approved for “medical marijuana” can do home cultivation (up to 5 plants). Everyone else would be subject to at least a $200 civil penalty if caught.
It wouldn’t surprise me if that prohibition was eliminated before long, as it’s nonsensical (if Illinoisians can buy it, why shouldn’t they be allowed to grow a limited amount?) and hard to enforce.
Gargling for tobacco cultivation laws seems to show no federal regulation of tobacco cultivation for personal use, while selling or trading IS regulated. That’s US feds. States and localities MAY impose restrictions; check with your local agricultural extension office. I never had to buy smokes when I lived on the Mojave Desert, not with wild “indian tobacco” growing all over, including beside my rented shack. Not the greatest flavor, but free.
And be sure to cover your rear license plate. (Which, of course, is a violation itself.) And if you call ahead to inquire, be sure to call from a pay phone one or two counties away from where you live. Can’t find a pay phone? Use a burner phone maybe?