Pubdate: Sun, 10 Aug 2014
Source: Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL)
Copyright: 2014 Southern Illinoisan
Author: Carla K. Johnson, AP Medical Writer
Cited: Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


CHICAGO -- As Illinois' new medical marijuana program gets underway, 
potential patients, growers and retailers have questions. State 
officials plan to hold three town hall meetings across Illinois to 
provide answers, particularly about the application process, which 
starts next month.

Multiple sclerosis patient Marla Levi of Buffalo Grove plans to apply 
for the required ID card so she can buy marijuana legally from a 
state-approved dispensary. She's found that the drug helps relieve 
the rigidity in her legs, she said. She wants to attend one of the 
meetings to get more information.

"This is my first question: When will I actually be able to have 
medical marijuana in my hands?" Levi said. The best guess from state 
officials is sometime next year. The Illinois law doesn't allow 
patients to grow their own marijuana. A limited number of cultivation 
permits will be issued to businesses around the state.

Growers and retailers are still pacing at the starting line, awaiting 
the opening of a competitive two-week application process, expected 
to start Sept. 8.

The entrepreneurs got a hint at the scoring process Friday when state 
officials posted guidelines on the program's website. Dispensary 
applicants, for example, can get up to 1,000 points for required 
documentation of their plans for business, security, record-keeping, 
financial disclosures and an optional bonus section for planning 
scientific studies, providing benefit to the local community or 
fighting substance abuse.

The first town hall meeting will be Thursday in the Southern Illinois 
city of Collinsville, according to the state program's website. That 
meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Kenneth Hall State Regional Office 
Building. Other meetings are set for Aug. 18 in Peoria and Aug. 20 in Chicago.

More details about the meetings and answers to frequently asked 
questions can be found at the program's website.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom