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Medical Marijuana Laws Recently Expand In Illinois

December 13, 2018
Author - The Strainbank

The current governor of Illinois has signed into effect a new law that looks to have a number of outcomes on almost all medical marijuana users within the state. Below are discussed some of the top five changes these new laws in place should have moving forward: First and foremost, the new law aims to create more access for medical marijuana patients, specifically those looking for replacements to opioid pain medications.

Essentially what that means is anyone that receives a prescription for pain pills such as Vicodin or OxyContin can actually take those certifications directly to a dispensary to receive medical cannabis instead. This certainly appears to be a streamlined and effective way to get the right kind of patients to the right kind of medications as quickly as possible! Secondly, not only does the state of Illinois wish to create more access, but easier access as well. Meaning that the application process will be less strict, no longer requiring background checks and fingerprinting for the medical marijuana patients who suffer from one of the about 40 different qualifying and often-chronic conditions.

In addition, patients will also have the ability to obtain provisional approval to purchase medical marijuana during the processing of their applications. The third issue surrounding medical marijuana that the state wanted to address was the length of which patients could have the access to buy, as well as the specific quantities they are authorized to obtain. Those who are specifically looking to use medical marijuana as a replacement for opioids can purchase from the legal dispensaries for a period of up to 90 days, which may also be renewable by their designated physician.

While for long-term patients the authorization period for using medical cannabis has been extended from one year, to three. Further, patients can now purchase as much as two and a half ounces of medical marijuana every two weeks. While both the governor and state health chief of Illinois support using medical marijuana as a replacement for opioid medications, the state is still in debate about whether to add "intractable pain", or pain that is resistant to other forms of treatment, to this list as well. Earlier in the year a Cook County judge had ordered it to be added to the list, however later had the ruling appealed by the state.

The final question in discussion for the people of Illinois is naturally the topic of full legalization. Despite this governor endorsing this new law that has increased access for medical patients, he has previously stated not being in support for the legalization of recreational use. However the matter should certainly come up once again as his Democratic opponent coming in November has already expressed support for full legalization.


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