Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Officially Open in Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Defense

medical marijuana dispensaries, Chicago Area Criminal Defense AttorneyFor those struggling with disease, chronic pain, and other conditions, the wait for medical marijuana in Illinois is over. On November 9, a few medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors for business, with many more to follow in the near future. For both marijuana industry officials and patients seeking medicine, the stores opening is a huge relief and comes after years of advocating for medical marijuana legalization. For the first time in Illinois, patients who qualify are able to legally purchase and use medical marijuana as a form of treatment.

Six stores opened across Illinois on Monday, and a few others are scheduled to open within the week. Officials say they expect there to be 25 dispensaries opened by the end of 2015, with more to follow in the coming years. At the time of planning, state officials mapped out 60 potential sites for dispensaries, so many more stores may be opening as the industry grows. The six stores that opened Monday experienced long lines of patients, and industry officials are hoping even more patients will try the products once medical marijuana becomes more popular in the state.

Medical marijuana was officially legalized in Illinois in 2013; however, many setbacks forced the opening to be pushed back until late 2015. Illinois government officials feared lawsuits over medical marijuana, and therefore delayed giving licenses to marijuana growers and sellers. Lawsuits over the legalization of medical marijuana have been filed in Illinois, but none have won as of yet. Illinois is currently one of 23 states in the U.S. that has legalized medical marijuana, and marijuana industry leaders expect the trend to continue across the country. States like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have legalized marijuana for recreational use by everyone 18 and older.

To be eligible to purchase medical marijuana in Illinois, citizens are required to obtain a state issued ID card. To receive the card, patients must have one of 40 diseases or conditions that the state has deemed appropriate to treat with medical marijuana. The list includes HIV, epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other conditions and diseases. Moreover, patients must provide proof of their condition from a doctor, submit to getting fingerprinted, and pass a criminal background check. Illinois requirements are among the strictest of any state that has legalized medical marijuana.

As of the dispensaries opening on Monday, 3,300 Illinois residents have obtained their ID cards, a far cry from the 10,000 industry leaders and state officials expected. Dispensaries also require patients to go online and register with them before being able to purchase any products. Many patients were turned away during the store openings on Monday because they had not properly registered or been given their IDs.

Only patients who have received their state issued ID and have met the other requirements are allowed to enter the dispensary. Once inside, store employees, known as “bud tenders,” will assist the customer with finding a strain of marijuana suitable to help with their condition. The two main types of cannabis, Indica and Sativa, have differing effects. Sativa provides a more energetic and euphoric high, while Indica is more of a mental, relaxing high.

Currently, Illinois dispensaries are only selling the marijuana flowers themselves, known as “buds”, but edibles, oils, extracts and lotions are expected to become available in the coming weeks.

For Illinois residents without an ID card, possessing, consuming, growing, or selling marijuana is still a crime. If you are facing drug related charges, having a skilled Chicago area criminal defense attorney by your side is absolutely necessary. Contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney to start working with a qualified attorney. Call 312-629-0669 to speak with a member of our team today.


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