Illinois Approves Medical Marijuana Legislation, with a Few Tweaks
After winning the race to be the 11th state to legalize marijuana, Illinois has a few months to go. Meanwhile, according to the Chicago Sun Times, Governor J.B. Pritzker approved legislation to establish medical marijuana’s permanency.
But in a sudden, fortunate twist for many patients, the final legislation contained further expansions. These will improve accessibility and provide more options for a broader range of patients.
Pritzker’s legislation took effect on August 9th, but he waited until Monday, August 12th to make the announcement.
When an individual wants to use a new medication, he or she naturally has to obtain a prescription. Marijuana is no different.
Initially, getting a cannabis prescription would require a visit to the doctor. However, Gov. Pritzker’s law now expands that authority to other medical professionals:
“…nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants can now certify prospective patients for the program, as opposed to only doctors.
Pritzker signed another bill Monday that allows school nurses or administrators to give cannabis products to students who are registered medical patients and lets students medicate under the supervision of those officials. When the measure takes effect at the start of next year, students will also be permitted to use cannabis before or after school and during school-sponsored activities.”
Not only does this shorten the waiting time to see a medical specialist, but it also allows youth use their medication as prescribed, without school rules stifling their rights.
To further facilitate accessibility, the law also allows medical recipients to grow up to five plants at home. Recreational users, however, are not allowed to do so.
Expanded Qualifying Conditions
Another change is Pritzker’s expansion of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The Chicago Sun Times reports:
“The measure, which took effect Friday, gives access to Illinoisans diagnosed with chronic pain, anorexia nervosa, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence syndrome.”
To call this expansion “dramatic” is an understatement. The sheer number of new conditions is commendable. Now, patients suffering from these conditions can explore additional options if conventional treatment is insufficient.
Interest in “Equity”
Pritzker explained during his announcement that his reasons for making these reforms is for the sake of fairness. He wants to ensure that eligible people can access and consume marijuana when they need to, rather than around the restrictions of outdated laws.
The governor says how the new law:
“…brings our medical cannabis program in line with my administration’s vision for equity and it makes adjustments for the lessons that we’ve learned since its inception. As we continue to reform state government so that it better serves its families, we must do so in a way that advances dignity, empathy, opportunity and grace.”
Although welcome news, the Chicago Sun Times highlights some concerns. One issue is that historically, recreational legalization took a bite out of medical sales:
“Despite the new considerations, the number of medical patients in Illinois could take a hit when recreational sales come online. That’s been the trend in the 10 states that already allow recreational pot sales, some of which have lost more than half their medical patients in a matter of years…”
The publication reminds us, however, that it is in a person’s best interests to stay in the medical market. Obtaining the drug will be cheaper for medical users, while Pritzker’s upcoming recreational law states that dispensaries must give priority to serving medical recipients, in case of a shortage.
There is also the advantage of home growth, which recreational users will not be able to do.
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Medical Marijuana Expansion
Illinois truly took a massive leap forward with its new law. A broader number of patients and faster accessibility means better overall public health.
However, this also leads to more market growth, with an increasing need for distribution and sales. WeedAdvisor offers an array of business solutions to meet the increasing needs of dispensaries and licensed producers.
From POS and reward programs to inventory tracking, compliance reports and real-time data generation, our products and services offer efficiency, accuracy and protection.