Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Illinois Department of Public Health public hearing regarding the proposed rules that were published last month. The hearing is the first of two scheduled meetings to gather public opinion on the rules that mainly focus on patient/dispensary relationships, as well as cannabis infused products. Other aspects of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (CUMCPPA) are handled by the Department of Agriculture, Revenue, and Financial and Professional Regulation.
Many of those who offered up their opinions shared the sentiment that the State and more specifically, the Department, has been dragging their feet on the roll out of this program. While many thanked the department for their hard work, they also felt that they need to move quicker. Many argued that there are other states that are working out the details as they go, and if IL could follow the same model, patients wouldn't be suffering as much as they are now.
Many were also skeptical about the background check process for patients looking to register for a card. Despite being lowered in the revised rules released on April 18, the fees for both the card and the fingerprinting, as argued by several, will keep medicine out of the hands of deserving patients living in low income families. Another resident argued that requiring background checks for patients is the opposite of being compassionate.
Comments also came in regarding caregiver requirements. As the law is written now, caregivers must be residents of the state of Illinois. A few concerned citizens shared the fact that many sick patients receive their care from relatives and family members coming in from out of state.
The Departments and the State still have some things to work out, but the overall process is moving forward. The Department of Public Health will hold it's next hearing in Springfield on May 21st.