Medical Cannabis Pilot Program now serving patients!
Last update: November 9, 2015
Dispensaries have now begun serving patients in Illinois, marking the biggest milestone in the program since the law was passed in 2013. Eight dispensaries were initially approved, five of which opened immediately, including Harbory (Marion), Herbal Remedies (Quincy), EarthMed (Addison), Salveo Health and Wellness (Canton), and The Clinic Mundelein (Mundelein). The complete list of approved dispensaries and their locations is available here. The total number of patients now stands at approximately 3,300, with more expected to join the registry now that businesses are able to serve them. Hat tip to Illinois Medical Cannabis Community’s Joel Erickson for identifying those that were first to open!
Discussions over decriminalization continue, but unfortunately the budget battle dominating state politics this year threatens to overwhelm the support both the governor and the general assembly have voiced in support of a decrim bill. The bill’s sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy and others continue to seek a solution before the clock runs out in December.
At stake are thousands of Illinoisans saddled with the stigma of criminal convictions, along with the tax burden on residents who must fund a system that has made Illinois a state with the fifth highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the nation. A study by the ACLU found that despite similar marijuana use rates, enforcement is far from equal — blacks are 7.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois than whites.
Good news for medical cannabis patients — for a change!
The news over dispensary openings is welcome relief to patients who faced a challenging year. In addition to delays in licensing businesses and approving their operation, the Illinois Department of Public Health refused to adopt numerous new conditions, despite approval by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. An effort to extend the program beyond 2017 fell short in its initial attempt, but a similar effort is expected during the legislative session in 2016.
Unsurprisingly, the number of patients who have registered for the program has initially been low, but it is expected to increase now that the program is operational. For more information on the state program, including applications, follow this link.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. Please subscribe to our free legislative alert service to receive updates on marijuana policy reform efforts in Illinois.