09/04/2019 | Health + Wellness

Updates to the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program

On August 9, 2019, the medical marijuana program in the State of Illinois got a huge boost. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a pair of bills that expand who is able to get a medical card and when they can use it. With the legalization of recreational cannabis, sponsors say that the medical cannabis program should be expanded and protected as well, which is what these new bills work towards.

History of the Pilot Program

When the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program was first signed in 2013 by Governor Pat Quinn, it was a Pilot Program, meaning that it was not permanent and in the preliminary stages. This was meant to allow the state to work out any issues, as well as to test the concept to see if it was a successful program.

Making the Program Permanent

The program was extended previously, but it is now permanent, removing the “Pilot” part of the program. On August 12, 2019, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act  became effective. The Illinois Department of Public Health has completed the necessary work to get the program up and running.

Additional Changes

In addition to making the program permanent, there are other changes to the program meant to benefit patients in the State of Illinois. First of all, there were twelve new conditions that are now approved for the use of medical cannabis:

  • Autism
  • Chronic Pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Polycystic Kidney disease
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis

Other changes include veterans with a current opioid prescription receiving medical services at VA are eligible to register for the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program and registered MCPP patients can register up to three designated caregivers. One change expected to be effective in January 2020 is that registered MCPP patients can grow up to five cannabis plants for personal consumption.

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Courtesy of: Illinois.gov & NPR