Illinois Lawmakers Working Out Details For Medical Marijuana

The state of Illinois became the 20th to legalize marijuana for medical use earlier this year, the law taking effect on January 1st. of 2014. Despite this it make take 6 months more for the actual medical availability of cannabis due to the dragging feet of Illinois lawmakers. I wonder how many will die due to the delays in implementing the law due to the lack of a sense of urgency on the Illinois’ governments part?

This summer, Illinois became the 20th state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act permits the use of marijuana by patients with serious medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Lupus and and other serious and painful ailments.

The sponsor of the law, state Rep. Lou Lang,

“I know I’ve laid some difficult tasks on their plates,” Lang said. “I’m just pleased that they’re meeting now.”

Mike Claffey, a spokesman for Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, said there have been several meetings already.

“All agencies tasked with implementation are reviewing Illinois and other states’ laws to ensure a successful Illinois program that avoids some of the pitfalls and challenges faced by other medical cannabis programs,” he said in a statement.

At the Illinois Department of Public Health, officials are investigating how the agency will oversee the patient and doctor aspects of the law.

For example, after a patient is certified by a doctor, the patient will then send a copy of that certification to Public Health. The agency would then verify the information and issue an identification card. A patient could not purchase cannabis without the card.

The growing and harvesting of marijuana also would be regulated. The Illinois Department of Agriculture would have to review plans of prospective growers. The agency also will have to select one facility in each of the 22 Illinois State Police districts where growing could be done.

The growing facilities would have 24-hour surveillance and would be under strict rules to regulate their inventories. Once the program is under way, the agency is required to conduct weekly inspections on each of the 22 growers.

“We already license pharmacies, so we expect this will be very similar,” said spokeswoman Sue Hofer.

In the end, it could be the summer of 2014 before ill people will be able to legally purchase cannabis in Illinois.

“I hope this moves faster in order to help the people this law was designed to help,” Lang said.

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