Welcome to the 21st century, Illinois…
Though Illinois is drastically restricting what medical conditions and under what conditions a patient can legally have the herb, nonetheless, this is progress from the Bad Old Days when Mayor Richard J. Daley’s thugs beat people with billy clubs for smoking a joint.
But unlike Colorado, which has come under fire for lax marijuana regulations even as the state gets ready to legalize recreational pot use next year, drafters of Illinois’ law say it will be among the toughest in the nation.
Patients here can’t grow their own pot and must have an existing relationship with a prescribing doctor. To qualify, patients must be diagnosed with a serious to chronic illness laid out in the law, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma or HIV. It’s likely that patients would have to pay out of pocket for marijuana, as it is not typically covered by insurance companies.
The Illinois Department of Public Health will be in charge of issuing medical marijuana cards to patients and their caregivers, who could purchase and administer pot on behalf of those who are ill. Patients and caregivers would be fingerprinted, undergo background checks and must promise not to sell or give away marijuana. Workers at grow centers and dispensaries will undergo the same vetting.
The state will license 22 growers, one for each State Police district, as well as up to 60 dispensing centers to be spread across the state. Exactly where those growers and sellers could locate will be up to state regulators. Local communities could enforce strict zoning laws, but they could not prevent a grower or dispensary from setting up shop in town.
Growers and dispensaries will be charged a 7 percent “privilege tax,” which will be used to enforce the medical marijuana law. Patients will be charged a 1 percent tax for purchasing pot, the same rate that applies to pharmaceuticals. Additionally, growers and dispensaries would be banned from donating to political campaigns.
Marijuana use would be banned in public, in vehicles, around minors and near school grounds. Property owners would have the ability to ban marijuana use on their grounds. Employers would maintain their rights to a drug-free work place, meaning someone with a valid medical marijuana card could be fired for using the drug if their employer prohibits it.
Advocates argue that Illinois’ law is drafted tightly enough to prevent intervention from the federal government, which classifies all marijuana use as illegal. But the discrepancy between state and national law is already causing concerns for some military veterans, as federally run veterans hospitals say their doctors won’t issue prescriptions for illegal drugs.
(click here to continue reading Illinois governor to sign medical marijuana bill today – chicagotribune.com.)
and the qualifying medical conditions are currently listed as:
“Debilitating medical condition” means one or more of the following:
- (1) cancer,
- positive status for human
- immunodeficiency virus,
- acquired immune deficiency syndrome,
- hepatitis C,
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
- Crohn’s disease,
- agitation of Alzheimer’s disease,
- cachexia/wasting syndrome,
- muscular dystrophy,
- severe fibromyalgia,
- spinal cord disease, including but not limited to arachnoiditis,
- Tarlov cysts,
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- fibrous dysplasia,
- spinal cord injury,
- traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome,
- Multiple Sclerosis,
- Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia,
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA),
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy,
- RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I),
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II),
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy,
- Sjogren’s syndrome,
- Interstitial Cystitis,
- Myasthenia Gravis,
- nail-patella syndrome,
- or the treatment of these conditions; or
(2) any other debilitating medical condition or its treatment that is added by the Department of Public Health
by rule as provided in Section 45.
(click here to continue reading HB0001ham001 98TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY.)