Medical marijuana has been available in Illinois for about 18 months. But many people around the state, particularly in Southern Illinois, say they can’t find a doctor in their area to help them. A few groups have found a way to change that – they’re now bringing doctors directly to the patients with qualifying conditions.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law Friday that removes criminal penalties for possession of a personal amount of marijuana and replaces them with a civil fine. The new law is effective immediately.
On May 18, the Illinois House voted to move Illinois to ticket-based penalties for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. If the governor signs Senate Bill 2228, instead of making arrests, police will start issuing tickets ranging from $100 to $200 per offense. Previously, anyone caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana could have been charged with a misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $1,500 and possible jail time of up to six months. Under SB 2228, anyone charged with the civil marijuana possession penalty would also automatically have his or her record expunged six months after the bill’s effective date.
Chicago’s newest medical marijuana dispensary just opened its doors, but can not yet sell the drug. Employees are still waiting on the dispensary’s official license from the state before they can start selling.
Illinois’ medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors Monday and have begun processing patients who will receive the first batches of the drug under the state’s four-year pilot programs.
At EarthMed, a dispensary in Addison, the first patient to legally purchase pot, Chris Favela, 19, emerged with a small, opaque canister of a strain called Grape God. He paid $180 for about nine grams of the marijuana.
Post-traumatic stress disorder would be considered a debilitating illness that can be treated with medically prescribed marijuana under legislation headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Under a measure approved Thursday by the Illinois Senate, low-level cannabis possession would go from a crime with fines up to $2,500 and up to a year in a jail to penalties likened to a traffic ticket. Carrying small amounts of marijuana would result in a fine instead of an arrest under a measure approved Thursday by the Illinois Senate.
Advocates of Illinois’ troubled medical marijuana experiment hope to reassure investors by pushing to have lawmakers extend it beyond 2017, when it expires, but the initiative faces an uncertain fate on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk. Entrepreneurs and backers say the success of the four-year program does not depend on an extension. But after a year of stumbles, lawsuits and delays, they believe it would send a signal that the program won’t end before the state can work out the problems and do a proper evaluation.
An Illinois advisory board voted against recommending that medical marijuana be made available to treat anxiety and diabetes, and it was expected to consider whether military veterans should have access to the drug to help deal with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Illinois House approved a measure April 23, 2015, that would penalize possession of small amounts of marijuana with a fine instead of arrest. Low-level cannabis possession, of up to 15 grams or less, would be treated more like a traffic ticket: no court time and a fine of up to $125.