Medical Marijuana | WGLT

Medical Marijuana

Mike and Becky Williams
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Gov. JB Pritzker made good on his promise when he signed recreational cannabis into law last month.

Alice Moss poses
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Four years ago, Alice Moss came home from work and walked into a nightmare.

Her partner had shot himself. He later died about a long hospitalization.

Barickman on the Senate floor
senatorbarickman.com

State Sen. Jason Barickman said he went public against Gov. JB Pritzker's bill on legalizing recreational use of marijuana even though he knows it will make it more difficult to get a compromise bill.

Worker among plants
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Behind a tall security fence and countless coded keypads, the future of the Delavan economy is growing under bright lights.

Unit 5 school board members standing up
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Unit 5’s six returning school board members took oaths of office and elected board officers Wednesday night.

fentanyl
Rick Bowmer / AP

Medical professionals in Illinois now have to undergo training on how to safely prescribe opioids.

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs
Ryan Denham / WGLT

A test program the state treasurer is promoting could increase the rate at which Illinoisans save for retirement.

Francois Biber / Flickr

The issue of legalizing recreational use of marijuana is rising in profile this year. There are two bills in the General Assembly. Several Democratic candidates for governor have embraced the proposal, saying it would bring badly needed revenue to the state and reduce black market and gang control of an existing industry.

torbakhopper / via FLKR

Heroin addiction and opioid abuse are viewed as an epidemic in Illinois, and across the nation.  

The medical marijuana industry is trying to steer patients and doctors to cannabis instead.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Bloomington Normal's medical marijuana dispensary is opening in October. The Green Solution held an open house from three to seven on Northtown Road in Normal.

Green Solution principal owner Tanya Griffin said they expect initially there will be a couple hundred customers from the McLean County area.

Emma Shores / WGLT

McLean County residents are reacting to a new medical marijuana dispensary opening in northern Normal. The Green Solution opened their doors Friday to allow members of the public to preview the facility.

Steve Sompong of Bloomington has a prescription for cannabis to treat Fibromyalgia. He said he's had to drive to Canton and Peoria to obtain the substance.

"Now I'm three miles away. This is the greatest thing that's ever happened in the state of Illinois," he said. "I mean, help with medical, children [and] everything. Everybody benefits from this that has problems.”

torbakhopper / via FLKR

A new medical marijuana dispensary is set to open next month in Normal.

The Green Solution is in the 500 block of West Northtown Road. 

Brett Levin / Flickr

The Normal Town Council will be asked to vote on changing the town's ordinance on cannabis possession to align with a state law passed last month.

Sponsor: Medical Pot Extension Watered Down

Jul 5, 2016
Flickr user Dominic Simpson via Creative Commons

Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation last week extending Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program by another two and half years. But the sponsor of the extension in the Illinois House says he had to make some sacrifices along the way.

Court Rules PTSD Should Qualify For Medical Marijuana

Jun 29, 2016
Mike Hager / Vancouver Sun

A Cook County judge has sided with a veteran from Urbana and ordered the state to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana.

Judge Neil Cohen ordered the Department of Public Health's director to add PTSD within 30 days. The sternly worded ruling says Director Nirav Shah “engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view'' that was “constitutionally inappropriate.''

Brett Levin / Flickr

The Illinois medical marijuana industry saw $2.2 million in retail sales during April, the largest one-month figure yet. Program director Joseph Wright says the program now includes 36 dispensaries and 6,200 qualified patients.

Urbana Lowers Pot Fines

Apr 5, 2016
David / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Urbana City Council has approved an ordinance to lower the fine for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana from $300 to $50.

Tony Webster / Facebook via Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers are again trying to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana but face strong opposition from law enforcement and anti-pot advocates.

Medical Marijuana Demand Stalls

Feb 1, 2016
torbakhopper / via FLKR

A market research company is growing pessimistic about Illinois medical marijuana, telling investors that retail sales could reach just $15.6 million in 2016. California-based ArcView Market Research released its projections Monday. The estimate comes from the company's annual guide to legal marijuana markets, co-published with New Frontier. ArcView CEO Troy Dayton says some Illinois marijuana businesses will fail if the slow pace of patient approvals continues. Only 4,000 Illinois patients can buy the drug at licensed dispensaries.

Damian Gadal / California Health Care

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has again rejected expanding the list of diseases that can be treated with marijuana in Illinois. The Department of Public Health announced the decision, spurning eight recommendations from an expert advisory board.

The panel had recommended post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects many military veterans. Also recommended and rejected were autism, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and four pain syndromes.

Damian Gadal

Illinois residents who want to add specific diseases to the state's medical marijuana pilot program have another chance to submit suggestions during January.  The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept petitions starting Jan. 1 and continuing through the month.  The program allows people to suggest new diseases for the program twice annually, in January and July. An advisory board reviews suggestions and makes recommendations. 

Illinois officials say the state's first medical marijuana patients have purchased nearly $801,000 worth of cannabis during the program's first month. Program director Joseph Wright announced the figures Wednesday. The numbers indicate Illinois has collected roughly $56,550 in taxes from wholesale sales of medical marijuana during the month. Marijuana wholesalers pay a 7 percent tax to the state.  
    

Francois Biber / Flickr

A Chicago lawmaker plans to try again next spring to drop criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Democratic Represetative Kelly Cassidy plans to announce her proposal Thursday in Chicago. The General Assembly endorsed a Cassidy-sponsored plan last spring to impose fines for possession of marijuana. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner used his power to lowered the amount of marijuana allowed to 10 grams from 15 grams in Cassidy's plan, and impose fines of $100 to $200 instead of $55 to $125.

Letters revoking medical marijuana patients' firearms cards and wording on the Illinois State Police website indicate the police agency is still struggling with the conflict between state and federal laws on pot and gun ownership.  

The agency says the letters were sent in error and the website wording, which seems to disqualify marijuana patients from gun ownership, will be removed.  

More Illinois Residents Light Up

Dec 2, 2015

The number of Illinois patients getting state approval to use medical marijuana jumped a bit higher during November, the first month of legal sales of the drug. The Illinois Department of Public Health says 3,600 patients have now been approved for the pilot program, including 22 children. That's 300 more than one month ago, a sizeable increase compared to previous months. The first licensed dispensaries started selling marijuana on Nov. 9, sparking new interest among potential patients. The health department says about 29,300 people have started the patient registration process.

Medical Marijuana Shipments Begin

Nov 6, 2015

Medical marijuana growers in Illinois have been notified by state officials that they can start shipping their products to dispensaries today for sale to patients early next week. Department of Agriculture instructions say marijuana can be transported only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Vehicles carrying it must be staffed by at least two cultivation center employees. Growers must enter product ID numbers into a digital statewide tracking system. A Florida-based company called BioTrack THC has the Illinois contract for tracking medical marijuana from seed to sale.

Illinois Approves More Medical Marijuana Patients

Nov 5, 2015

The number of Illinois patients approved to use medical marijuana continues to climb as dispensaries get ready to sell the drug for the first time.  The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday it has approved 3,300 patients to use medical marijuana in the state's pilot program. That includes 20 children.

An advisory board has voted to add chronic pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and three other pain conditions to the list of illnesses that can be treated by marijuana in Illinois. The state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board made the recommendations Wednesday at a meeting in suburban Chicago.