Medical Marijuana Has Been Legal In Illinois For a Year, But a Single Patient Has Yet to Benefit

Medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois for more than 365 days, but the number of patients that have actually been able to get relief from the drug remains a big fat zero.

While 600 local patients have already been approved for a medical marijuana card, there’s no place to actually buy the stuff. And after the state recently blew its self-imposed deadline to award business licenses to medical marijuana growers and dispensaries by the end of 2014, not a single business can even plant pot seeds.

“Illinois is the worst at anything having to do [with]medicine — or alternative [treatment],” Claire Mooney, a 39-year-old acupuncturist in Chicago, told The Huffington Post. Mooney applied in November for a medical marijuana card, hoping to ease muscle rigidity, pain and other symptoms caused by her multiple sclerosis.

Though she’s frustrated by the state’s timing, she said she’s also not surprised by it. “It goes on the timeline I thought it would be on, given the bureaucracy of Illinois.”

Despite the growing frustration among would-be medical marijuana patients like Mooney, it might not be time to lose heart entirely — so says Ali Nagib, the assistant director for the Illinois arm of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a nonprofit advocacy group.

“Other than the fact that for many patients, any delay is too long, it’s not an unexpected delay for people who have been following it,” Nagib said. “If you go back and listen to floor debates in 2013, they were anticipating — even at that time — a year of rulemaking. In that sense, it’s not unexpected [the licensing has]taken that long.”

– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.