Seems like a long time coming, but the day has arrived: Illinois medical marijuana program is up and running. Last week, patients got their medical ID cards, and the Department of Agriculture authorized growers to ship their product to dispensaries around the state.
Illinois Medical Marijuana Law: Licensed Dispensaries
The new medicine will be sold at licensed facilities:
- The Clinic in Mundelein;
- Salveo Health & Wellness in Cantonl;
- Herbal Remedies in Quincy;
- EarthMed in Addison; and
- Three PharmaCannis dispensaries in North Aurora, Schaumburg, and Ottawa.
In November, another dispensary, PDI Medical, will open in Buffalo Grove.
Illinois Medical Marijuana Law: Good Start; Miles To Grow
And though Illinois’ medical cannabis program marks a historic policy shift away from the inflexibility of prohibition, there is still a long way to go.
For one thing, opponents have criticized the program for unduly restricting patient access to the plant. Due to restrictions, only people with severe illnesses like cancer, glaucoma, MS, or fibrous dysplasia, to name a few, can enlist. People with severely debilitating conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder and osteoarthritis, remain ineligible, despite evidence of the plant’s effectiveness in alleviating such conditions. (See: Cannabinoid receptors and the regulation of bone mass. Bab, I., Ofek, O., Tam, J., Rehnelt, J. and Zimmer, A. (2008); Endocannabinoids and the Regulation of Bone Metabolism. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 20: 69–74. )
Furthermore, eligible patients must undergo intensive criminal background screenings, making the Illinois medical marijuana application far more rigorous than other states.
Will the tiny size of the market hurt it? Time will tell. And ultimately, it’s up to Governor Rauner to approve future recommendations of additional qualifying conditions from the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
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Here’s hoping that the Illinois medical marijuana program can alleviate the state’s budget crisis.
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