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Ironing Out Medical Marijuana Details

As Illinois prepares for implementation of a pilot program to provide legal medical marijuana, we take a look at some of the challenges and regulatory hurdles growers and dispensaries face as they look to cash in. Joining us to discuss the topic are Brendan Shiller, an attorney and partner at Shiller Preyar Law Offices, and Dan Linn, executive director of Illinois NORML

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly on May 17, 2013 and was then signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Aug. 1, 2013. The pilot program took effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and runs through Jan. 1, 2018.

People with the following debilitating medical conditions are eligible for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program:

Illinois residents may petition the Illinois Department of Public Health to add debilitating medical conditions or diseases to those listed above. Each petition is limited to a single medical condition or disease. Petitions will be accepted twice annually (Jan. 1- Jan. 31 and July 1-July 31). Petitions for the first period of 2015 will be accepted from Jan. 1-Feb. 28.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture received a total of 159 applications for cultivation centers and will award up to 22 licenses, with one in each Illinois State Police District (District 15 will not receive a permit since it is a tollway district. Districts 3 and 4 have been combined to form the District of Chicago and will receive two cultivation center licenses). The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation received a total of 214 dispensary applications and will grant up to 60 permits. In order to geographically disperse the 60 dispensaries throughout the state, the following Dispensing Organization Districts have been created.

  • Illinois State Police Districts 1, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22 will each be a Dispensing Organization District and shall be allocated one registration each.
  • Illinois State Police Districts 8, 9, 10, 11, and 16 shall each be a Dispensing Organization and shall be allocated two registrations.
  • The part of the state within the Chicago metropolitan area but outside of Cook County shall be allocated 14 registrations. 
  • The portion of Cook County outside of the City of Chicago shall be allocated 11 registrations, which are allocated among various townships.
  • The City of Chicago shall be allocated 13 registrations, which are allocated among various townships.

Click the dots on the image below to see how many cultivation center and dispensary applications were received by each district.