Medical Marijuana Sales Begin Today in Illinois

Legal
Medical Marijuana Sales Begin Today in Illinois

(Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

After one of the most bumpy bureaucratic journeys medical marijuana has seen, approved patients in the state of Illinois can finally purchase their medicine from one of the eight designated dispensaries allowed to open today.

Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Pilot Program was signed into law by then-Gov. Pat Quinn in August of 2013. The program was designed to have the strictest regulations of any state MMJ law to date. For example, to become an Illinois MMJ patient, you not only need to obtain proof from a doctor that you suffer from one of 40 specified medical conditions, but you also must submit fingerprints and undergo a criminal background check.

Soon after singing the bill into law, former Gov. Quinn lost re-election to current Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose administration decided to perform a thorough legal review of Quinn’s proposed processing of the new MMJ law. This stalled medical marijuana implementation even more.

However, today marks the first time patients in Illinois can legally obtain and use their medicine. While many conditions widely recognized as qualifying for medical marijuana in other states have been rejected by Gov. Rauner — including PTSD, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and autism — people suffering from the pre-approved 40 can finally find relief today. It’s been a long, messy road getting here, but at least we’re here now.