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Medical Marijuana Legal, but Not Available in Illinois

June 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am

Cook County criminal defense lawyer, drug crimes, for medicinal use, Illinois criminal law, Illinois medical marijuana, marijuana dispensaries, Medical marijuanaOne of the many recent and significant changes to the criminal laws in the state of Illinois involved legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. At the time, many saw this as an important step in Illinois criminal law. However, months after the law was enacted, ABC Local reported that the law may not have any real effect on the public in the timeframe originally expected.

Availability of Medical Marijuana

A signed bill legalized medical marijuana in Illinois nine months ago. At that time, the plan was to make medical marijuana available to eligible patients beginning in the fall of 2014. Since then, there has been one of two planned public hearings to discuss rule proposals. That hearing made clear that the original timeframe by which to have the substance available is not realistic.

Objections to Proposed Rules

Advocates of the law pointed out numerous flaws to the hundreds of pages of rules proposed by state departments. One rule will require qualifying patients to purchase a $100 patient card and submit to fingerprints and criminal background checks. Advocates object to such background checks, as other patients who are prescribed more powerful drugs are not required to give fingerprints. Advocates also argue that such a requirement is an indignity to patients and shows a total lack of compassion. However, it is important to note that the requirement was part of the original law signed by the governor in 2013. If it is changed, the issue may have to be revisited by the General Assembly or challenged in court.

Other Roadblocks

Illinois also needs to choose 60 approved marijuana dispensaries and 22 growing sites before the substance will be available for medicinal use. The selection will likely take months. Once the state’s selections are made, the growers and dispensaries will have to fulfill further requirements to qualify, and the winners will still have to be determined and the growing season will have to be waited out. The new estimates project that perhaps spring or early summer of 2015 may be more realistic in having medical marijuana legally available.

Criminal Defense Attorney

While medical marijuana is technically legal in Illinois, the fact that it is not yet available by approved means presents a unique legal scenario in which medical marijuana users may still be prosecuted. While the law may have changed regarding certain types of marijuana use, other drug laws remain the same.

Drug crimes are serious offenses that deserve significant attention. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successful experience representing clients charged with drug offenses and are prepared to discuss your case with you. Contact us today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office. We serve clients in Chicago and the greater surrounding area.

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