In a series of articles examining the laws in states where medical marijuana has been “legalized”, this is the 9th and will next discover how Illinois’s program was recently approved and set to be implemented January 1, 2014.
Governor Pat Quinn's August 1, 2013 signing statement (available at this link) explains key points of the law and notes that it is a four-year pilot program.
The bill was sponsored Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and Senator William Haine (D-Alton), who agreed there is scientific evidence that “medical cannabis can provide relief from continual pain, nausea and discomfort more effectively than conventional medicines for patients suffering from serious ailments such as cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and HIV. Representative had championed the cause for the past five years.
The new law enacts strict restrictions on the cultivation centers to ensure professional licensing, 24 hour surveillance and inventory control. There will be 22 cultivation centers - one for each Illinois State Police District (click here for a link to an interactive map of the Districts).
The bill can be accessed by clicking this link and will implement The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act which does accomplished the following:
- Establishes a patient registry program
- Protects registered qualifying patients and registered designated caregivers from "arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege,"
- Allows for the registration of cultivation centers and dispensing organizations
Once the act goes into effect, "a tax is imposed upon the privilege of cultivating medical cannabis at a rate of 7% of the sales price per ounce."
Conditions approved for treatment with medical cannabis include cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pancreatitis, spinal cord injury or disease, traumatic brain injury, or
"one or more injuries that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient's provider; and a severely debilitating or terminal medical condition or its treatment that has produced at least one of the following: elevated intraocular pressure, cachexia, chemotherapy induced anorexia, wasting syndrome, severe pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects, constant or severe nausea, moderate to severe vomiting, seizures, or severe, persistent muscle spasms."
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, an "adequate supply" is defined as:
"2.5 ounces of usable cannabis during a period of 14 days and that is derived solely from an intrastate source."
The law does not allow patients or caregivers to cultivate cannabis.
It is by communicating with Utah lawmakers on a regular basis, through e-mail blasts and phone calls, that organizations such as UtahCARE - Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education, are continuing to education Utah politicians about the various benefits of cannabis and generating the momentum to keep the movement moving forward to legalize cannabis throughout the state.
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