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A Marijuana “Pilot” for Illinois

A Marijuana “Pilot” for Illinois

Last year in Illinois, the state voted to adopt a Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP). Although it formally began on January 1, 2014, a legislative committee finally approved rules this week. Soon, growers and retailers will be able to apply for permits and get the ball rolling.

Representatives sponsoring the legislation have been very complimentary of Governor Pat Quinn and his office for their sincere engagement in the process. According to them, seven months actually wasn’t a bad timeline for the work necessary to implement this pilot program, which included pursuing public feedback, researching, and writing rules. The program does end in 2017, though, so the quicker the program gets on its feet, the better. At this point, it will be spring 2015 before the drug is actually available.

So, the basics:

1. Qualifying patients include those suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and more. There are a total of 30 conditions, but the law is still considered comparatively strict.

2. Beginning this September, patients should apply for a required medical cannabis registry identification card. Applications should take about 30 days to review.

3. Patients will pay $100 a year to apply for a medical marijuana card. Disabled people and veterans will pay $50.

More great news for Illinois – Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University made a rough calculation that the state’s annual sales of marijuana should range between $20 and $30 million. Growers will pay a 7% tax on their sales, and the state will also collect up to $6 million in permit fees annually. Makin’ bank!

Bob Morgan, the medical marijuana program coordinator for the Illinois Department of Public Health, answers questions after a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Chicago.The committee approved bringing legal marijuana one step closer to reality for qualifying patients. Illinois is joining a growing number of states that authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. New York recently became the 23rd state to make medical marijuana legal. Photo: Stacy Thacker, AP


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