What Might Medical Marijuana Realities Be In Illinois? Well...
The Chicago Reader ran an extensive breakdown of what the realities of medical marijuana might look like in Illinois. Surprise! The whole execution of the law, set to take effect January 1, 2014, save a veto from Gov. Pat Quinn, requires potential patients to go through a series of increasingly discouraging hoops in order to obtain their state-approved sticky icky.
Starting off by explaining the Illinois House vote approving in April the (deep, bong hit-like breath) The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, and the state senate approval one month later, the Reader's Mick Dumke talks to the legislators and lobbyists who helped spearhead the state's cannabis pilot program.
So who qualifies? Unless you have a "debilitating medical condition"—defined by examples including cancer, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDSmdash;you probably do not. Dumke explains that chronic or severe pain is not included as a debilitating medical condition, even though many other states' medical marijuana laws, such as Colorado's, do include it.
But that's not all. Cannabis remains prohibited for everyone younger than 18, regardless of his or her health—a concession made to pick up more political support.
The law also excludes anyone who's been convicted of a violent crime or felony drug offense—including, potentially, someone going through chemo who was caught with a supply before the new law was in place.
In addition to strict definition of terms for those who can use the pilot program, Illinois makes its potential patrons prove their condition is real, and that Cannabis can help alleviate it.
What does that process look like?:
Your doctor needs to provide "written certification" to the health department detailing your symptoms and arguing that cannabis is likely to help. The doctor will also need to confirm that he or she is actually your doctor and that you've undergone a physical examination. This exam cannot be conducted via telephone, telepathy, e-mail, Gchat, Skype, or any other "remote means." It can't happen at a location where cannabis is sold, or at the home of anyone who works in the cannabis business.
After that, there's a background check by the state police, and, after that, you need to submit an application to the health department that includes a signed statement asserting you will not sell or give away medical cannabis.
If the department approves the application, it will forward the information to the secretary of state to include with your driving record, just in case you're pulled over and police want to check your story about that bag of marijuana.
The health department will maintain a registry of cannabis patients that's available to other state agencies and police "on a 24-hour basis" so they can keep track of "the date of sale, amount, and price of medical cannabis purchased by a registered qualifying patient."
It's just so delightfully Illinois!