On January 21, 2014, the Department of Health for Illinois released a draft of their medical cannabis regulations for public comment before submitting them to the state. The draft demonstrates how the system would work for patients and their caregivers. Some of the personal highlights and overall important facets of the regulations are:
1) Potential patients with a drug felony will be unable to obtain a medical marijuana card. However, if that person has a felony from obtaining marijuana for medical purposes, they may be offered some leeway under the proposed law.
2) Patients would pay $150 a year to apply for a medical marijuana registry identification card plus the cost of Live-scan electronic, inkless fingerprinting. Qualified patients’ caregivers cost would be $125 a year. Patients with Social security benefits would pay the amount of $75 a year.
3) Doctors must have an ongoing “bona fide physician-patient relationship” instead of simply prescribing medical cannabis.
4) Anyone with a gun permit or concealed weapons permit would be prevented from getting a medical cannabis card.
5) There are currently 30 conditions mentioned in the guidelines including cancer, muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s and lupus. The Governor of Illinois will appoint a nine member “Medical Cannabis Advisory Board” consisting of eight health care practitioners and one medical cannabis patient. One of the board’s main functions is to review petitions for adding debilitating medical conditions or diseases to the state’s list.
6) The guidelines also clearly state who can possess or use cannabis and the locations where it would be available i.e. a school bus driver, an on duty law enforcement officer, or on prison grounds.
7) Medical cannabis patients will be unable to smoke cannabis where smoking is prohibited by law.
The full 48 page copy of the regulations are available here: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/mcpp/Documents/DPH%20medical%20cannabis_DRAFT%20proposed%20rule%2001%2021%2014.pdf
I feel that any state that implements a law regarding medical cannabis patients’ rights is on the right track. Illinois entering this four year pilot program with a transparent, regulated system allowing patients to safe access is a giant step in the right direction. More states will invariably follow suit and soon we hope to see a legalized nation.