The Illinois House just voted 61-57 to pass the nation's strictest medical marijuana bill. The measure, House Bill 1, would establish a "Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program" that would last three years and would make Illinois the nineteenth state to legalize the use of limited amounts of marijuana under strict medical conditions.
Illinois' bill was written carefully to appease lawmakers concerned about perceived abuses of medical marijuana in other states. Dan Riffle, Deputy Director of the Marijuana Policy Project which crafted the legislation, told CBS Chicago, "Unlike California, you're not going to be able to doctor shop. You're not going to be able to walk into an office, pay $100, and leave five minutes later with a recommendation."
According to the bill, which now moves on to the Illinois Senate, qualifying patients would be allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of useable marijuana purchased from a dispensary within a 14-day period (though a doctor can write a waiver for a greater amount on a case-by-case basis).
Patients will not be able to qualify under generalized conditions such as "chronic pain" or "severe nausea" as in other medical marijuana states. The qualifying condition list includes only the very specific diagnoses of:
cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, cachexia/wasting syndrome, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, including but not limited to arachnoiditis, Tarlov cysts, hydromyelia, syringomyelia, Rheumatoid arthritis, fibrous dysplasia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Arnold-Chiari malformation and Syringomyelia, Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), Parkinson's, Tourette's, Myoclonus, Dystonia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type I), Causalgia, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndromes Type II), Neurofibromatosis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, Sjogren's syndrome, Lupus, Interstitial Cystitis, Myasthenia Gravis, Hydrocephalus, nail-patella syndrome, residual limb pain, or the treatment of these conditions;
Other details include:
- Patients will not be allowed to cultivate their own plants.
- Patients must register which dispensary they will get cannabis from.
- Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and can only assist one patient.
- Caregivers can't have any drug felonies, unless it was growing a small amount of pot for medical uses.
- Patients cannot use their medical cannabis "knowingly in close physical proximity to anyone under the age of 18 years of age."
- Doctors can have nothing to do with dispensaries and vice versa (even recommendations).
- Patients are protected from discrimination in organ transplants and child custody.
- Patients are somewhat protected from employment, education, and housing for being patients, but their use of medical cannabis can be restricted or denied, and employers can still use dirty urine tests to fire patients.
- No children (under age 18) can be patients.
- Police must have 24-hour "real-time" access to any and all video security at cultivation centers.
- Cultivation centers must by almost a half-mile (2,500') from schools, day cares, and residences.
- Cultivation centers sell only to dispensaries - there is no "small grower" system.
- Dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from schools and day cares and cannot be in residential areas.
- Dispensaries chall keep detailed records of purchases by patients to ensure none get more than 2.5 ounces per two-week peroid.
- Police can randomly inspect the premises and records of dispensaries.