Quinn Signs Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed a bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois that supporters say is the strictest in the nation.

Jim Champion, a military veteran from Somonauk who suffers from multiple sclerosis, joined the governor at a bill signing ceremony at the University of Chicago. He told of the relief he gets from marijuana, which his wife indicated allows him to more than cut in half the number of pills he takes. Champion said he is glad he’ll soon no longer be violating the law to get pain relief.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, but state regulators are likely to need months to come up with the rules. That means it could be until next summer before those suffering from 42 illnesses including cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis can legally seek relief through marijuana.

Under the new law, a person could be prescribed no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana over two weeks. That’s enough to fill two small sandwich bags. In addition, the prescribing doctor must have a prior and ongoing medical relationship with the patient. And a doctor must find that the patient has one of a few dozen serious or chronic conditions for the marijuana to be prescribed.

Patients would have to buy the marijuana from one of 60 dispensing centers throughout the state and would not be allowed to legally grow their own. Workers at dispensing centers would undergo criminal background checks, the stores would be under round-the-clock camera surveillance and users would carry cards that indicate how much they had bought to prevent stockpiling.

Marijuana would be grown inside 22 cultivation centers registered with the state.

– Read the entire article at The Chicago Tribune.