State senator’s cannabis company facing scrutiny

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois state senator’s side gig has landed her in an uncomfortable spotlight.

State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, of Chicago’s South Side, is now the subject of a securities investigation by the Secretary of State. WCIA was the first station to report on the state senator’s side gig.

Despite the investigation, online and in person, Van Pelt isn’t shy about promoting her crash course in get-rich-quick schemes underpinned by pot. She is essentially selling investment advice for cannabis stocks.

In a telephone sales pitch obtained by WCIA, last week the senator claimed several high profile recruits.

“I signed-up senators and the Secretary of State and the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court,” Van Pelt said in the recording.

Spokespeople for Secretary of State Jesse White and Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown deny involvement with Van Pelt’s current business. However, the two acknowledged they had previously purchased products from Van Pelt through a now-defunct pyramid scheme called “5linx.” The owners of the company were later imprisoned on fraud and money laundering charges.

Van Pelt runs her current CBD oil business out of a non-descript office in Chicago.

She spoke with WCIA’s Mark Maxwell at the State Capitol.

"My enterprise is networking and home-based parties. We do home-based parties,” she said.

Van Pelt is a protégé of Secretary of State Jesse White. It’s now his office’s securities division that’s investigating her.

While the sales pitch claims to be able to make “marijuana millionaires” the fine print on the website says less than 4% earn sufficient commissions to cover their costs.

“We have people that raise all the way from $0.60 cents to $13,000 in a month,” Van Pelt said.

Van Pelt did not vote on Illinois’ recreational marijuana law – and beginning Jan. 1, lawmakers won’t be allowed to hold stock in marijuana companies — but that’s not stopping her sales pitch. In the audio recording, she said, "we're not trying to just sell CBD oil.  That’s our entry point.

“I don’t see a reason why anybody, any lawmaker, should not be allowed to invest in any industry actually,” Van Pelt told WCIA.

The Secretary of State’s securities division investigation has been going on for at least four months.

Van Pelt also indicated the legislative inspector general may have also opened a case on her.

There is no word on how long those probes may take. In the meantime, she keeps on selling.


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