Thousands Apply for Medical Cannabis in Illinois

By Rebecca McCurry 09/12/2014

Patients with qualifying conditions were granted permission to submit their applications starting on September 1, 2014 to receive and administer medical marijuana in Illinois. It was unsure of how many patients would be interested in the program, but so far, over 2,000 patients have applied.

The list of qualifying conditions for the state of Illinois is quite extensive, with conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, Tourette’s syndrome, and traumatic brain injury. For the full list, please click here. The state law was signed in 2013 and states that patients can possess two and a half ounces of cannabis per 14-day period.

According to state rules, patients with last names beginning with the letters A through L can apply for the medical marijuana program between September 1, 2014 and October 31, 2014. Any qualifying patients with the last names beginning with the letters M through Z can apply from November 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014. Once qualifying patients apply for the program, the Illinois Department of Public Health has 30 business days to review the completed applications from the date they received them, and they have 15 days after the application was approved to issue an identification card.

Jim Champion, an Army veteran, was one of the first of many to apply for the program. He has multiple sclerosis and smoke two marijuana cigarettes daily to help with the painful muscle spasms. Since smoking marijuana, Champion was able to cut down from using 59 pills to just six to manage his condition.

Currently, patients have to be 18 years old and older to apply for the program until January 1, 2015. After this date, the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Medical Cannabis will begin to accept applications for minors that suffer from sizes, including those characteristic of epilepsy. At this time, the Department is coming up with new rules for how they will issue registry identification for minors on the program.


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