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.


fingerprints, cocaine, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyResearchers have found a new method determining whether an individual has used cocaine, and it does not require the collection of bodily fluids. A team of scientists from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom have discovered that a single fingerprint may be enough to verify the presence of cocaine in a person’s system. In addition to being less invasive than blood or urine tests, a fingerprint analysis may also increase reliability as the identifying characteristics associated with fingerprints are not easily faked or compromised.

The testing process involves the collection of a single fingerprint and analysis utilizing a technology known as mass spectrometry. Mass spectrometry is used to detect chemical components in the residue left by a fingerprint and is able to isolate traces of metabolized cocaine. The presence of two compounds in particular, benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine, verify that an individual has ingested and metabolized cocaine rather than having just touched it.

Lead researcher Dr. Melanie Bailey pointed to several advantages that such a test offers over more traditional processes. “A fingerprint is a very quick way of depositing a sample, compared with other collection regimes,” she said. A print can be tested in minutes, without requiring specific preparation of the sample, and the uniqueness of fingerprints make identification much more secure. “It’s also very difficult to falsify and could help with the sample’s chain of custody,” Dr. Bailey observed.

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