Governor extends medical cannabis program
Last update: July 5, 2016
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed SB 10 into law, which extends the medical cannabis pilot program to at least July 2020. The state program will also add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying medical conditions, which many believe will bring relief to thousands in Illinois that were otherwise left behind. The law also changes requirements related to medical marijuana recommendations by physicians, and we hope the new provisions make it easier to work with doctors.
Meanwhile, the governor is expected to sign SB 2228 by August. This bill would remove the possibility of arrest, jail, and a harmful criminal record for people in possession of a small amount of marijuana. These changes would vastly improve current law by replacing criminal penalties with a fine of between $100 and $200 for possession of up to 10 grams. The bill also makes improvements to current DUI laws, which today can lead to unimpaired drivers being considered under the influence weeks after consuming cannabis.
Overall, it has been a positive year in Illinois. An increasing number of patients are able to participate, the medical cannabis program was extended and expanded, and now criminal penalties are one signature away from disappearing in low-quantity possession cases.
Challenges continue in medical cannabis program
The passage of SB 10 is welcome news to the many patients and supporters who have worked hard to improve the state medical cannabis pilot program. High costs for providers and cultivators, early delays in the program roll-out, and restrictive provisions that suppress patient and doctor participation have made for a difficult time. In addition to extending the program and including PTSD, SB 10 also makes it easier for patients to get support from doctors. While the state program still has its challenges, the bill is a marked improvement.
For more information on how to register as a patient, or to see announcements from state program officials, follow this link.
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