If you have a medical marijuana card or are thinking about applying for one, this month brings into effect new changes to the medical marijuana pilot program in Illinois. Two major bills signed by Governor Rauner affected the medical marijuana card program and the laws around marijuana in Illinois. With the signing of SB228 Gov. Rauner decriminalized the possession of marijuana. Those found with 10 grams or less will no longer face possession charges or possible jail time. Instead they will be subjected to a fine, these citations will not go on personal records. Citations will even be expunged twice a year on January 1st and July 1st.
Already a patient
For those that are already patients the biggest change is the renewal process. Before this occurred annually, with the new laws in effect medical marijuana cards are now to be renewed every three years. If you are a patient that currently has a yearly medical marijuana card you may apply to extend your card for two years. The cost for renewal is $300. The pilot program itself has also been extended until July 1st, 2020.
Becoming a patient
The process for becoming a patient has one major change. Doctors now only have to certify the patient has a qualifying condition, as opposed to ‘recommend’ cannabis. This eases the path to obtaining a medical marijuana card as many patients found it difficult to find a doctor that would recommend cannabis near them, and many companies began to profit off having doctors recommend medical marijuana. The new Physician Certification Form is now available online.
Two conditions added
The signing of SB10 added PTSD and terminal illness to the list of 40 qualifying conditions. Those who suffer from a terminal illness will have their application fees waved and the application process will be streamlined. Typically a patient can wait up to 30 days after submitting an application before obtaining their medical marijuana card. Those who fill out the terminal illness application will see their cards as quickly as 14 days.