Harvesting Begins for Medical Marijuana in Illinois

medical marijuana, Illinois law, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyIt has been more than 21 months since the Illinois medical marijuana pilot program officially went into effect. However, the program, which was designed to provide insight into how the state and society would be affected by medicinal use of the drug, has yet to offer any type of usable data since dispensaries have not had any product to make legally available. The wait, it seems, is just about over. At least one grower is reportedly beginning to harvest the first legally-grown crop of marijuana in the state, and officials indicate that dispensaries around the state will soon be able to offer registered participants the opportunity to purchase it.

Licensed Growers Only

The measure officially legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana was signed into law on August 1, 2013, by then-Governor Pat Quinn. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act went into effect on January 1, 2014, and those with qualifying conditions began talking to their doctors about participating in the program. To date, more than 3,000 applications have been processed by the Department of Public Health, but due to bureaucratic delays and ongoing legal battles, production did not begin until earlier this spring.

According to the law, only state-approved cultivation centers are permitted to produce marijuana crops for use in the program. Private, non-sanctioned growers could potentially face criminal charges related to the production of illegal drugs.

Harvesting Now Underway

The downstate town of Albion, Illinois, is actually closer to Louisville, Kentucky, than it is to Chicago, but it is there that the first legally-grown medical marijuana plants are finally being cut, dried, and prepared for market. Amidst the cornfields of the historic village, a company called Ataraxia has established its highly-secured cultivation center. Ataraxia representatives say that finished products, including creams, oils, chocolates, gummies, and, of course, buds for smoking should be available at licensed dispensaries by the end of the month.

While those with medical marijuana registration cards await the opportunity to legally purchase the drug for the first time, those without proper registration should be aware that marijuana possession and use is still against the law for them. If you have been charged with drug possession or any other marijuana-related crime, contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer for assistance. Attorney Hal Garfinkel is a former prosecutor who understands the law and is prepared to help you protect your rights and your future. Call 312-270-0999 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-medical-marijuana-harvest-20151003-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3503&ChapterID=35

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/1011125/medical-marijuana-harvest-illinois

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