Illinois approves rules for medical marijuana

July 16, 2014

AP Photo/Stacy Thacker
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Ill., talks with Rep. Greg Harris, D-Ill., during a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules meeting Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Chicago. The committee approved bringing legal marijuana one step closer to reality for qualifying patients.

Qualifying patients are a step closer to getting medical marijuana in Illinois.

Without discussion, Illinois’ Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on Tuesday approved regulations for the medical marijuana pilot program.

Still, Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, said it could be 2015 before patients can legally use marijuana for treatment.

“While the patients are the most important part of this, their licenses and their permits to purchase the product aren’t quite necessary yet. And so it’s important that these other parts be rolled out as quickly as possible,” he said.

A point system of judging potential applicants to start a dispensary or cultivation center still needs JCAR approval. Lang said once that happens, state agencies running the medical marijuana program can then post applications. That could happen in the next 30 days.

Some items on the point system include whether a business is women or minority owned. Lang also said the state will be paying close attention to an applicant’s plan for security.

“Not only security of the product, but security of the people working there, security for customers and patients, security for the cash, security for the IT systems,” he said.

The first round of patients are expected to begin registering for certification in September.

The law authorizing the four-year medical marijuana pilot program was approved last year. The program is due to expire in 2017.

Susie An is a business reporter for WBEZ. Follow her @soosieon.