Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you have heard about the new Illinois Medical Marijuana bill. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (what a mouthful) was approved on August 1, 2013 making Illinois the 20th state to allow medical marijuana use. We know many of you are interested in this hot topic (and some are hoping they have one of the health conditions on the list), so check out the main points of this critical legislation:
- The law was approved in August and goes into effect January 1, 2014.
- The law allows medical marijuana use for a total of 39 specific conditions like cancer, glaucoma, severe fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease, just to name a few.
- Patients must have an established relationship with the physician who is prescribing the medical marijuana.
- The application process for the patient or caregiver includes background checks and fingerprinting and each approved patient or caregiver will be issued a medical marijuana card to allow the carrying and use of medical marijuana.
- The amount of medical marijuana that is dispensed to a patient is 2 &1/2 ounces (about 2 small sandwich bags full) every 2 weeks. That is quite a bit!
- There will be 60 dispensaries throughout Illinois; these are the only facilities that will be able to dispense the medical marijuana.
- Prices are currently unknown and will be set by individual dispensaries. However, there will be a 1% purchasing tax.
- The medical marijuana products that will be sold will include edible items, ointments, oils, and items that can be inhaled.
- The marijuana containers will be tamper resistant and food compliant when they are being transported from the cultivation centers to the dispensaries, but it is currently unknown if they will be in childproof packaging when they are dispensed to the public.
- Labeling of each of the products will have to follow the Illinois Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which requires certain items to be listed on the label, including name, ingredients, and possible allergens.
- There will be 22 cultivation centers, which is one for each of the State Police Districts. The centers must be located at least 2,500 feet away from any schools or day cares.
- Medical marijuana use will be banned in public places, on school grounds, in school buses, in vehicles, in correctional facilities, and around minors.
- Employers are allowed to have their own policies on medical marijuana use in the workplace, including drug testing.
- It is currently unknown if insurance companies will cover medical marijuana. In other states where medical marijuana is legal, like Massachusetts, it is not covered by insurance. This is because medical marijuana is not approved as a drug by FDA. It can be thought of like vitamins–they are normally not covered by insurance, nor does the FDA regulate them.
- Unlawful possession of medical marijuana or misrepresentation of a medical condition to receive medical marijuana can be guilty of a petty offence that is punishable by a fine up to $1000.
Please contact the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 for any questions or concerns that you have with this groundbreaking act in Illinois. Stay tuned for Part 2 “Medical Marijuana in Illinois—What’s in it for the Kids”
–Tony and Kristen