The cannabis laws in Illinois have had a long history even from the time of the prohibition. Even though Illinois has been one of the states that had regulations about medical cannabis voted on very early on, it wasn’t until a few years ago when the plans were actually executed.
We will take a look at the current cannabis laws in Illinois and how they have changed over time!
History of Cannabis Laws in Illinois
At the time of the prohibition, cannabis became legal in most of the places in the States. Cannabis was made illegal in Illinois in 1931 and remained as such until 1978. In that year, the cannabis laws in Illinois changed to allow medical marijuana consumption as a legal medical practice. However, bi regulations were set in place and even though on paper medical marijuana was legal, in reality, nothing much was done about its regulation and enabling access to it to the patients.
In 2013, the cannabis laws in Illinois were finally put in place and the Medical Cannabis Program in the state was started.
The bill called Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed in the time of Governor Pat Quinn, With this bill, the Department of Public Health, Agriculture and Financial and Professional Regulation was put in charge of regulating the cultivation, sale, and use of medical cannabis.
The program started to accept patient applications in September 2014. After two months, in November, the first medical marijuana dispensaries appeared, making medical marijuana accessible for medical patients.
Medical Cannabis Illinois via Illegally Healed
In the beginning, the cannabis laws in Illinois were some of the most restrictive ones anywhere in the country, However, recently there have been changes which added more conditions to the qualifying list, enabling more patients in need to gain access to medical cannabis.
In 2016, another bill was passed that decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Previously, marijuana possession was regarded as a misdemeanor, but after this bill, this deed is no longer regarded as a criminal act that can have long-term consequences. There are no major punishments on the table, apart from a fine between $100 and $200.
The Medical Marijuana Pilot Program was initially set to expire on 1st January 2018. However, this has been extended until 1st July 2020. This was done in order to finalize the regulations on medical marijuana and possibly add more extensions to the rules.
Currently, there are 55 dispensaries and 21 licensed cultivators. Their work is overseen by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation according to the cannabis laws in Illinois.
Where Can You Buy Medical Marijuana in Illinois?
For medical marijuana users, the cannabis laws in Illinois allow for them to be able to buy marijuana products in licensed dispensaries. Qualifying patients are allowed to appoint caregivers who will be able to purchase medical marijuana on their behalf.
Cultivators and dispensaries need to pay 7% tax on products, while the patients need to pay 1%. Qualifying patients and their caregivers are only allowed to buy medical marijuana from the dispensary they have chosen and it is indicated on their medical marijuana identification card. The purchase limit is set to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis for 14 days.
Medical Marijuana Illinois via OCC Newspaper
Where Can You Consume Medical Cannabis in Illinois?
The cannabis laws in Illinois prohibit any public consumption of marijuana products. Consumption needs to be done at a private place and to make sure that the health of another person is not in danger while doing so.
It is especially important not to consume any cannabis products on school grounds, public transportation, public parks or beaches. There is an exception to the cannabis laws in Illinois for minors with qualifying conditions. They are allowed to consume cannabis products at school but only under the supervision of a parent, guardian or caregiver.
Cannabis consumption is illegal in the workplace as well as correctional and medical facilities.
Consuming marijuana before or during driving is illegal according to the cannabis laws in Illinois even for medical patients. If caught driving under the influence, this is considered a criminal offense in a similar was a DUI in relation to alcohol.
Patients and caregivers are protected by the cannabis laws in Illinois and they cannot be denied the right to work, study or rent a property due to their status.
Gifting cannabis to another medical user is not allowed. Caregivers can only buy cannabis on behalf of the patients who they have been appointed by.
Cannabis Cultivation Illinois via Illinois Edu
Home Cultivation in Illinois
the cannabis laws in Illinois forbid home cultivation of medical marijuana for both qualifying patients and caregivers. They are only allowed to buy cannabis products from licensed dispensaries that are regulated by the state.
How to Register as a Medical Marijuana Patient
According to the cannabis laws in Illinois, qualifying patients need to register for a medical marijuana identification card through the Illinois Department of Public Health. They can fill in the application that can be found on the website, email the application or request more information or call the Medical Cannabis Program in working hours to get help on how to do the application.
The Medical Marijuana Program has been expanded to include more conditions and at the moment they are:
- Hepatitis C
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Severe fibromyalgia
- Spinal cord disease, including but not limited to arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia,
- Rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and post-concussion syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia
- Patients with valid opioid prescriptions
- Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)
- Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
- RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I)
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II)
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Nail-patella syndrome
- Residual limb pain
For the application to be successful, the qualifying patient needs to have a written certification from a physician. There is an exception for veterans who receive care from the VA office. According to the cannabis laws in Illinois, they do not need to submit a physician’s certification, but they need to provide paperwork for the last 12 months of care they have been receiving by the VA.
Medical Marijuana Identification Card Illinois via Medmar Dispensary
When it comes to minors, the cannabis laws in Illinois require a physician’s certification and recommendation of why cannabis would be beneficial. Also, the certification needs to be reviewed by another physician to confirm the diagnosis and the treatment. Both recommendations need to be submitted together with the person’s application for obtaining a medical marijuana identification card. Patients under the age of 18 should appoint one primary caregiver at the time of the application. They are allowed to add a second caregiver for which they need to pay a $75 fee. It is not allowed for minors to consume cannabis in any other way but as cannabis-infused products.
In order to register, the process is the following:
- The qualifying patent need to obtain a written certification from a physician about the condition and why medical cannabis would be beneficial for them
- The patient needs to fill in the form which can be found on the Department of Health’s website. At this point, they can appoint a primary caregiver. They will also need to choose a dispensary where they will be getting the medical cannabis from, yet this can be changed later on if you example the patient changes their address of living.
- Upon completing the application, you would need to pay a fee for obtaining a medical marijuana identification card:$100 for one year, $200 for two years or $250 for three years. The fees for veterans and patients with disabilities are halved by the Department of Public Health of Illinois.
- A passport-sized photo needs to be taken and submitted together with the application
- Two documents proving the address of residency needs to be provided, such as ID card copy, passport copy or utility bills.
If the person would like to appoint a caregiver, the documents need to be submitted together with the patient’s application. A fee is applicable for caregivers as well.
Medical Cannabis Illinois via Illionois Edu
How To Apply As a Caregiver?
In order to be able to apply as a caregiver, according to the cannabis laws in Illinois, the person needs to be over 21 years old All caregiver applicants will need to have a background check done on them. They mustn’t have any previous convictions of felonies in order to become caregivers.
Caregivers need to provide a document to verify their address of living in Illinois. They can give care to only one patient at the time and they need to be doing that pro bono i.e. not to receive any compensation for their services.
If the caregiver application is not submitted together with the patient’s application, that can still be done later on if the patient realized that they have a need for a caregiver.
The application fee for caregivers is set at $25 for a year, $50 for two years and $75 for three years. There is also an application fee which is set at $75. The caregiver’s medical marijuana identity card expires at the same time as the patient’s who they are providing care for.
They also need to provide fingerprint receipt with the scan done no more than 30 days before sending the caregiver’s application.
Holders of medical marijuana identity cards are only allowed to buy medical marijuana in Illinois. The medical marijuana identification cards from other states are not valid in the state according to the cannabis laws in Illinois.
Cannabis Lab Testing in Illinois
The cannabis laws in Illinois require all medical marijuana products to be put through testing before being distributed to dispensaries. The testing process is overseen by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
Cannabis Dispensary Illinois via Chicago Readers
The following tests are required in this state:
- Cannabinoid profiles
- Microbiological contamination
- Resident Solvents
dispensaries and growers regulations, on the other hand, are under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations and they are responsible for giving out licences.
There are no plans for opening more dispensaries or giving more growers a licence to cultivate marijuana at the moment. Their licences need to be renewed annually and the renewal fee is set at $100.000 for cultivator and $25.000 for dispensaries. All employees in both cultivation centres and dispensaries need to have an agent identification card approved by the state in accordance with the cannabis laws in Illinois.
It is obvious that the medical marijuana program in Illinois has been made more relaxed than it was previously. The decriminalization of marijuana for personal use is also a good indicator that cannabis is no longer viewed as a dangerous substance. Hopefully, in the near future, we will see a change in the cannabis laws in Illinois that will lead to dropping the illegal possession fine and legalizing marijuana for recreational use fully.