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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Illinois

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Illinois has legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational use. The “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in 2013 (MCPP)” was passed by the Illinois General Assembly legalizing the usage of medical cannabis in extremely controlled circumstances.  The state’s medical program was signed into law in August of 2013 by Governor Patrick Quinn taking effect on the 1st of January making Illinois the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Once they are certified by a medical caregiver for their qualifying medical condition, “legally registered patients” may then apply for an Identification card that allows them to use cannabis for medical reasons. The law in Illinois lists over 30 medical conditions which be legally treated by cannabis, allowing for any additions by their Department of Public health by way of administrative rulemaking.

The Medical Cannabis Patient Program had grown significantly by October 2020 to more than 143,000 qualifying patients.

The initial qualifying conditions listed for this state were:

·         ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)

  • Epilepsy

·         ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

·         Cancer

·         Chronic Pain

·         PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Migraines

·         Parkinson's Disease (PD)

·         Glaucoma

·         HIV/AIDS

·         Inflammatory Bowel Disease

·         Rheumatoid Arthritis

·         Lupus

·         MS (Multiple Sclerosis)

·         Parkinson's disease (PD)

·         Spinal Cord injury and Disease

Additional Medical Conditions

The following debilitating conditions were also listed under the state of Illinois’s approved list:

  • Alzheimer’s disease Agitation
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation
  • Causalgia
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
  • Dystonia
  • Hepatitis C
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myoclonus
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • PKD (Polycystic kidney disease)
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Residual limb pain
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Seizures (such as those typical in Epilepsy)
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • “Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity”
  • Canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Syringomyelia
  • Tarlov cysts
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow up to 5 plants in their homes under the “Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act”, that was effected on January 1, 2020. Recreational users are however prohibited from growing cannabis.

Illinois was the first state to legalize the sale of adult marijuana through a state legislature act.

The Illinois General Assembly on May 31, 2019, passed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalizing recreational marijuana use commencing from January 1, 2020. This bill was later signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker.

The History of legalization

Prohibition (1931): Joining the early 20th century nationwide trend that spread across 29 states, Illinois prohibited the recreational use of cannabis.

Decriminalization (2016): In July, 201, the punishment for possessing 10 grams of cannabis was reduced to a fine of $100–200 from a misdemeanor. The law also set the DWI requirement of THC found in blood at 5 nanograms/ml.

Proposed recreational use (2017): Illinois lawmakers on March 22, 20,17 proposed the legalization of recreational marijuana. This measure would also permit residents to possess cannabis amounts not exceeding 28 grams (1 oz.) as well as to grow up to five plants. This is the bill that ended up getting approved.

Following the legalization of cannabis, roughly 700,000 Illinoisans will be able to qualify for their past convictions that were marijuana-related to be expunged. This process is expected to be fully completed by the Illinois State Police in conjunction with the state by 2025.

On the first day of legal recreational sales (January 1, 2020), over 77,000 customers bought cannabis products worth $3.2 million legally from dispensaries all across Illinois making it a historic kick-off rivalled by no other state. These sales went on to hit $10.8 in 5days and $40 by the end of the month barring shortages.

On December 31, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker announced on December 31, 2020 that his administration had granted pardons to 9,210 low-level cannabis convicts and wiped 492,000 cannabis-related non-felony arrest records.

At full maturity, the state of Illinois will likely generate between $2 – $4 billion in recreational cannabis sales annually.

Though growing is capped at 5 plants per medical cannabis patient, “craft growers” are now able to apply to obtain licenses to cultivate cannabis for commercial use in areas less than 5,000 sq. ft.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.