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Medical Cannabis Becomes Permanent in Illinois

Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Updates

As of August 12, 2019, the Governor has officially signed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program into permanent status.  With that, the “pilot” designation has now been removed and several changes are to the overall program are being implemented over time.  Some of these changes were immediate, while others will be coming in the months to follow as there is still significant work the Illinois Department of Public Health must complete before all the changes can be implemented.  Some of these requirements affect other state programs, databases, and information technology systems and these changes being made will require additional time to ensure they are completed correctly.

The signing of the bill not only made the program permanent; it also updated the list of qualifying conditions to include:

  • Autism
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Neuro-Bechet’s autoimmune disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Superior canal dehiscence syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis.

Qualifying patients with these debilitating conditions may begin submitting applications as of the date of the bill being signed, August 12, 2019.

Further implementations to the program include:

  • Persons under the age of 21 years old are now prohibited from purchasing smokable medicinal cannabis, including vaping products, paraphernalia, and associated accessories (effective date 8/12/2019).
  • Advance Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants may complete certifications for qualifying MCPP and Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) patients (anticipated effective date of September 2019).
  • Veterans with a current prescription for an opioid who are receiving medical services at VA medical facilities shall be eligible to register for the OAPP (anticipated effective date of September 2019).
  • MCPP patients will be allowed to register up to three (3) designated caregivers (effective date still to be determined).
  • Immediate dispensary change-over requests allowed for MCPP patients (effective date still to be determined).
  • A waiver of the allowable amount of medicinal cannabis for veterans who receive medical services at VA medical facilities will be allowed (effective date 8/12/2019).
    • A qualifying patient who is a veteran receiving medical care at a VA health care facility may establish a bona-fide relationship with a non-VA physician to obtain a waiver to increase the adequate supply of medicinal cannabis for a 14-day period, The physician shall complete a written certification, including an in-person office visit within 90-days of the date of the waiver submission.  Both the written certification and the waiver submission shall be submitted to the Department along with the required fee ($25.00).
    • The required forms may be viewed at http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis/physician-information
  • Registered MCPP patients will be allowed to cultivate up to five (5) cannabis plants for personal consumption (effective date 01-01-2020).

Any individuals with a qualifying debilitating condition for the program looking for application assistance once they receive their certification from their physician, can visit us for free assistance with application submission to the State.  We help with submission of all the criteria asked of the State including taking your photo all at no cost to you other than the State fees for the application.  Visit our patient’s page for more information, or reach out and contact us to answer any questions.

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