Illinois health officials have drafted rules governing the distribution and possession of marijuana for medical use in the state, and now they want to hear from you.
Governor Pat Quinn signed the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act” into law in August 2013, and the law took effect January 1, 2014. That made Illinois the 20th state to allow medical marijuana.
The first clinic offering medical marijuana prescriptions in Illinois opened shortly after the bill was signed.
Now, the state is trying to iron out administrative rules so everyone is clear concerning who can get medical marijuana in Illinois, how and where it can be prescribed and how and where it can be produced and purchased.
The Illinois Department of Public Health posted a first draft of possible rules online January 21, 2014.
They have 120 days to develop rules that will govern the program, and they’re asking for comments and suggestions about the rules from the public. They’re asking for those comments to be submitted by February 14, 2014.
For information on how you can submit your comments, click here.
The 48-page draft includes a list of what medical conditions qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, where it can be used and possessed, and how it may be produced, packaged, prescribed and sold in Illinois.
The rules draft establishes an advisory board to oversee the state’s medical marijuana program, and requires patients and their caregivers to join a state registry that includes a fingerprint-based background check and a fee of $150 for patients and $125 for caregivers.
Patients would be required to be 18 years old or older to qualify for the program. Qualifying patients could begin applying for registry identification cards in September 2014 but those applications won’t be available year-round until 2015.
“Members of the public should be aware that full implementation of MCPP will take time. The State of Illinois is warning that it will not be legal for anyone to grow, offer to provide, or to possess, medical cannabis until licenses have been issued and the program is up and running,” according to instruction on the state’s website dedicated to the medical cannabis pilot program in Illinois.