Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Officially Takes Effect In Illinois
SPRINGFIELD, IL — After passing a measure in 2013 to legalize medical cannabis in Illinois, the state’s law officially took effect Wednesday morning. Prospective patients will likely be granted safe access to medical marijuana facilities towards the tail-end of 2014.
The regulatory agencies tasked with overseeing the Illinois medical cannabis program – the Department of Public Health, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Financial and Professional Responsibilities – are expected to hold an assortment of public hearings over the next four months. They will be establishing the rules and forms that will govern the program for years to come.
“No patient protections will be put in place until the state launches its official patient registry.”
No official timeline has been released by the state. However, Chris Lindsey, Legislative Analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), points out that at least one agency has indicated that licensing for cultivation facilities could begin in the Fall.
It is important to note that no patient protections will be put in place until the state launches its official patient registry. Requiring a great deal of red tape, this is expected to occur in Spring at the earliest.
Illinois Commences Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
For those interested in more information, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has released an overview of the Illinois medical marijuana law. As it explains, the state’s “pilot program” will serve as a four-year test-run. The program will cease to exist if it is not renewed or a new law created.
“We hope state officials will work swiftly to ensure seriously ill patients no longer face legal penalties for using medical marijuana. Illinois patients and their families have already waited long enough.” – Chris Lindsey
The organization has also prepared a guide for patients and doctors. It contains answers to frequently asked questions and a complete list of qualifying conditions.
As it stands, the Illinois program does not consider PTSD or debilitating pain to be a qualifying condition. However, MPP plans to lobby the state in order to add them to the list. The organization invites any individuals that are suffering from either condition and would like to help to contact them via email with your ZIP Code included.
“We hope state officials will work swiftly to ensure seriously ill patients no longer face legal penalties for using medical marijuana,” Mr. Lindsey explained. “Illinois patients and their families have already waited long enough.”
Chris Lindsey is a Legislative Analyst in the Marijuana Policy Project’s State Policies Department. Accordingly, he works with community leaders, lobbyists, and legislators in over a dozen states and U.S. territories to change marijuana laws.
The Marijuana Policy Project was founded in 1995 in Washington, DC. The founders were members of NORML, but felt the organization should be more proactive. In turn, they broke away and started the MPP.In the …