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Illinois Prepares to Implement Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

Years of negotiations between the Illinois Department of Public Health, State Police, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and Department of Agriculture have resulted in a nearly 20,000 word medical marijuana bill. Limited in scope when compared to most medical marijuana states, SB2636, requires patients be diagnosed with at least one of 37 conditions. While glaucoma and PTSD did not make the the list, AIDS, nail-patella syndrome and Tourette’s did. The law will allow patients to petition the DOPH to include other conditions. After filing through a pubic hearing process, the DOPH is required to rule on new conditions within 180 days. Patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14 days. Patients wanting more are required to have their doctor request it, prompting a review process by the DOPH.

Patients and workers participating in the program will have to submit fingerprints to the DOPH that are forwarded to the Illinois State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigations for a criminal background check. Convicted felons will not be eligible to participate in the program in any way. Veterans using VA facilities seeking a recommendation must prove a professional relationship with their physician consistent with VA protocol.

Dispensary and cultivation center applicants are graded on a point system. Applicants for cultivation center licenses are required to estimate the amount of waste generated annually and provide detailed plans for pesticide storage. Registered cannabis businesses are forbidden from operating within 2500 feet of a school or day care facility. 60 state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and 21 cultivation centers will serve Illinois’ population of 12.8 million.

By John Veit

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