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Call For Medical Marijuana Availability This Year

Wed, 21 May 2014 15:25:47 CDT

Illinois medical marijuana dispensaries could get the green light to sell by the beginning of next year. The state Department of Public Health held a second hearing on the rules for the program in Springfield today. Mostly patients addressed the panel saying they wanted the process expedited. The director of a state marijuana advocacy program says among the concerns is the potential of the drug being too costly. Dan Linn with Illinois NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) says that could undermine the program.

"If the price of medicine through the program is 10% or 15% higher than the street value, we'll see a lot of non-compliance where patients registered to be in the program--they go to the dispensary, they look at the medicine--they might buy a little bit the first time. But if it's such a cost burden for them that they're not going to continue buying it through the program, they're going to continue going to the illegal market."

Other concerns raised at the hearing include security efforts like background checks, finger-printing and requiring established patient-doctor relationships. An attorney for the public health agency says any changes in those areas would need legislative approval. The state has yet to hand out licenses for growing or selling medical marijuana.

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