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Medical Marijuana Caregiver - Illinois

SUMMARY:   After almost ten years of work by the Marijuana Policy Project and Illinois State legislators, on August 1, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 1 into law, which enables Illinois doctors to recommend the use of cannabis to patients who suffer from symptoms of various qualifying medical conditions.  The new law is entitled the “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” and it’s called a “Pilot Program Act” because it will cease to exist in four years unless the Illinois State Legislature renews the program or enacts a new state law regarding the use of medical marijuana. 

Under the new law, Illinois patients under a physician’s care for one or more of over thirty qualified medical conditions, will be able to register with the State’s Department of Public Health, which will provide them with written certification of their legal status as a medical marijuana patient. 

The following are the debilitating conditions that qualify for medical use of cannabis under the new law and the State’s Department of Health will be able to approve additional medical conditions in the future:  HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Alzheimer’s disease or agitation thereof, Muscular Dystrophy, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, hydromyelia, Tarlov cysts, syringomyelia, spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Arnold Chiari malformation, myoclonus, Aremyoclonus, dystonia, causalgia, CRPS, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), neurofibromatosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Lupus, myasthenia gravis, interstitial cystitis, nail patella syndrome, hydrocephalus and residual limb pain, or the treatment of any of these conditions. 

Patients who qualify for use of medical cannabis are also afforded protection under the law from being arrested, charged, prosecuted or facing any criminal or other penalties, including forfeiture of property, for using medical marijuana in compliance with the law.  It also protects patients from discrimination in obtaining medical care (including transplants) and protects parents who are patients in child custody matters.  Landlords cannot refuse to rent property to qualified patients based solely on the person’s status as a registered patient (or caregiver) unless housing the patient violates a federal law.  Landlords may, however, ban smoking of marijuana on their premises. 

Schools and employers are prohibited from discriminating against a qualified patient unless federal law imposes restrictions thereon and employers may continue to not allow employees to possess and/or smoke marijuana while at work or to work while under the influence of marijuana, thereby continuing to enforce a drug-free workplace.  

The new Illinois state medical marijuana law does not allow patients to grow their own cannabis, but they may obtain up to two and a half ounces of medical grade marijuana every two weeks from a state-regulated dispensary (pre-designated during the process of applying for certification) or cultivation center, which are the only organizations authorized under the law to grow marijuana.  If a patient’s referring physician feels that two and a half ounces is insufficient to treat the patient’s medical symptoms, the patient may apply for a waiver and be permitted to obtain more than two and a half ounces. 



Illinois  Medical Marijuana Statistics:

Year Law Passed

Voter Percentage

Patient Fee

Approved Patients 2013

Possession Limit

Accepts other State Cards

2013

HB-1

TBA

NA

2.5 oz.

No

 

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