A new Illinois law legalized medical marijuana, but until regulations are final, patients still can't use cannabis without risking arrest. The Illinois Department of Public Health has posted 48 pages of draft rules. It's an initial step toward sorting out how medical use of marijuana will work in the state. Under the proposal, patients would pay $150 a year to apply for a medical marijuana photo ID card. They also would pay for their own fingerprinting for a background check. Some disabled patients could pay a lower fee of $75 a year. Rules for dispensaries and cultivation centers are still being drafted.
Chris Lindsey of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington says the $150 annual fee for patients is burdensome. He says states like Michigan charge less and generate big surpluses. But he applauds Illinois for proposing an advisory board to review petitions for adding medical conditions to the list approved for marijuana. Jim Champion is an Illinois veteran with multiple sclerosis. He says he's concerned that patients and caregivers can't get medical marijuana cards if they have firearm owners ID cards because of state and federal laws.
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