Recently, HB 1, was introduced in the State of Illinois. If passed, HB 1 would establish a 3 year pilot program for medical marijuana. You can read more about the summary of the bill below. Please use our action center to contact your representative and let them know you support sensible marijuana policy in Illinois!
Decriminalizing Patients’ Cannabis Use: A patient would be granted protection from arrest only if his or her physician certifies, in writing, that the patient has a specified debilitating medical condition and that the patient would receive therapeutic benefit from medical cannabis. The patient would send a copy of the written certification to the Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH), and DPH would issue an ID card after verifying the information. Patients would only be able to obtain a recommendation from a physician who is treating them for the qualifying condition and with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship.
Restrictions on Who May Be a Patient: Minors could not qualify as patients. Patients also could not be active police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, probation officers, or bus drivers. They could not have a commercial driver’s license or a felony drug conviction.
Qualifying Medical Conditions: Unlike most previous versions of the bill, there is no general category for “pain.” In addition, psychiatric conditions would not qualify. The specific conditions included in HB 1 are: cancer; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; hepatitis C; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Crohn’s disease; agitation of Alzheimer’s disease; cachexia/wasting syndrome; muscular dystrophy; severe fibromyalgia; spinal cord disease; Tarlov cysts; hydromyelia; syringomyelia; spinal cord injury; traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome; multiple sclerosis; Arnold Chiari malformation; Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA); Parkinson’s disease; Tourette’s syndrome; Myoclonus; Dystonia; Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD); Causalgia; CRPS; Neurofibromatosis; Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy; Sjogren’s syndrome; Lupus; Interstitial Cystitis; Myasthenia Gravis; Hydrocephalus; nail patella syndrome; residual limb pain; or the treatment of these conditions.
Tightly Regulated Cultivation Centers: All cannabis dispensed to patients would be grown by one of up to 22 strictly regulated cultivation centers. Prospective license holders would have to submit detailed plans to the Department of Agriculture, which would select one facility in each of the 22 State Police districts. All cultivation centers would have 24-hour surveillance that law enforcement could access. They would also be required to have cannabis-tracking systems and perform weekly inventories. All centers would be required to abide by department rules, including for labeling, safety, security, and record keeping. A failure to do so could result in the revocation or suspension of a registration. Cultivation centers’ security plans would have to be approved by State Police. Centers would also have to comply with local zoning laws and must be located at least 2,500 feet from daycare centers, schools, and areas zoned for residential use.
Strictly Regulated Dispensing: Unlike most previous iterations of medical cannabis legislation in Illinois, HB 1 would not permit patients or caregivers to cultivate cannabis. Instead, patients could only purchase medical cannabis from state-regulated dispensing organizations, which would purchase cannabis from cultivation centers. There would be no more than 60 dispensaries in the state, and dispensaries would have to abide by Department of Financial and Professional Regulation rules as well as any local zoning. They could not be located within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare location, nor could they be sited in residential neighborhoods. Any dispensing organization that fails to comply with the Act could have its registration suspended or revoked by the department.
Medical Cannabis Possession Limits: A patient must designate only one dispensing organization where he or she would be able to receive medical cannabis. Dispensaries could distribute no more than 2.5 ounces to any patient during any 14-day period, unless the patient’s physician certifies the patient needs a specific higher quantity and the Department of Public Health grants the patient a waiver. Caregivers, who may serve only one patient, would be permitted to pick up medicine for the patients who designate them.
Registry ID Cards: In order to ensure patients are protected from arrest and give law enforcement officers an easy way to verify a person’s status, anyone permitted to possess cannabis – patients, caregivers, cultivation center agents, and dispensing organization agents – would be issued ID cards by the Department of Public Health, Department of Agriculture, or Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. These cards would include an issue and expiration date, as well as a random number, which could be used to help confirm the card’s validity. Cultivation center and dispensing organization employees’ ID cards would include a photograph of the employee, and the Department of Public Health may also require patient and caregiver cards to contain a photograph.
Restrictions on Driving: Each registered patient would be deemed to have consented to a field sobriety test, which they could be subjected to based on an independent, factual basis related to cannabis. Their drivers’ records would include a notation that they are a qualifying patient. Cannabis could not be transported in a vehicle unless it is in a secure, sealed, tamper-evident container that is reasonably inaccessible. Patients who drive while they are impaired by cannabis will face the same penalties as patients who drive while impaired by prescription or over-the- counter drugs.
Impact on Employers: The bill states specifically that it does not “prohibit an employer from enforcing a policy concerning drug testing, zero-tolerance, or a drug free workplace provided such policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.” Elsewhere, the bill also makes clear that employers aren’t liable for disciplinary action against employees who use or possess marijuana in the workplace or based on an employer’s good-faith belief that an employee was impaired. Finally, the bill states that it does not interfere with federal restrictions and regulations on employment.
Restrictions: While the Act would protect qualifying patients from arrest and prosecution, it includes strict limitations on where cannabis can be used. For example, patients could not use cannabis at a dispensing organization, in any public place, or in the view of minors. They also could not undertake any task under the influence of cannabis when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice. Landlords could prohibit smoking on the premises of leased property.
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NOTE: This action center is only available to residents of Illinois