medical marijuana

Medical marijuana retail shops in Illinois saw a slight increase in sales in May compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says registered dispensaries sold nearly $2.3 million worth of marijuana in May to more than 5,100 patients. April sales were $2.2 million.

May's figures bring the total retail sales of marijuana in Illinois to $10.8 million since purchasing began Nov. 9, topping the $10 million mark for the first time.

Illinois now has 37 registered dispensaries and about 7,000 qualified patients.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to expand the state's medical marijuana pilot program by two-and-a-half years and add post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the list of allowed conditions.

Lawmakers voted 86-27 on Monday to advance the measure, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner supports.

It now goes to the Senate, where it's expected to pass.

Illinois' four-year pilot program is set to sunset at the end of 2017. Under the bill, it will continue to July 1, 2020.

Where Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Program Stands

May 27, 2016

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is just getting started.  The first stores opened last fall and some 6,000 people are now approved to buy cannabis through the pilot program. That number is much smaller than what many advocates say is needed to create a viable business.  There are a number of factors behind the slower-than-expected rollout of a pilot program scheduled to expire in January 2018.

Illinois patients who want to use medical marijuana legally will try again to expand the program to include chronic pain, diabetes, migraine and other health conditions.

Monday's meeting of the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could lead to new recommendations, but Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has twice before rejected the board's suggestions.

WUIS

  Republican Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon told a House committee Monday that he wants to warn users of serious potential side effect such as hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking.

Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program was sponsored by Democrat Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. Lang says he'd rather wait until the pilot program ends in 20-17 rather than pass piecemeal legislation.

"There may be an opportunity in the future to work on something like this. I just think it's ill-timed," he says.

Retail sales of medical marijuana in Illinois increased by roughly 30 percent in March compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says the state's registered dispensaries sold $1.9 million worth of marijuana in March to more than 4,700 patients. It was the best month yet in sales for the program.

Illinois now has 32 registered dispensaries where qualified patients can buy the drug. Three new dispensaries registered in March.

Wright says approximately 5,500 patients now qualify for the program.

Illinois medical marijuana shops had their best month yet in February with nearly $1.5 million in sales, bringing total retail sales to more than $4.4 million since the program began Nov. 9.

Program director Joseph Wright announced Tuesday that registered dispensaries served 3,042 unique patients during February. Two new dispensaries joined the program last month, raising the total to 29 shops as of Monday.

Wright says approximately 4,800 Illinois patients now qualify for the program.

Illinois advocates are pushing to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the conditions eligible for medical marijuana.

Lon Hodge is a Vietnam veteran. He suffers from PTSD and experiences panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. He says marijuana helps him cope with those symptoms.

Illinois currently has a pilot medical marijuana program.

But Hodge can't use pot legally in the state because PTSD is not on the list of illnesses covered under the program.

flickr/dankdepot

The nascent medical marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow start, with fewer than 4,000 approved patients.That hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight the drug. The Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 former law-enforcement or legal officials involved in the business, from one-time undercover narcotics officers to an ex-Secret Service senior executive. Industry officials in Illinois and beyond say the state is unusual in the degree to which former law enforcement officers

JENNIFER BRDLIK / ELEVATED CARE

Illinois residents who want to add specific diseases to the state's medical marijuana pilot program have another chance to submit suggestions next month.

The state public health department will accept petitions starting Jan. 1. The program allows people to suggest additional diseases for the program twice annually.

An advisory board reviews suggestions and makes recommendations. So far, no new conditions were added to the 39 listed in the original law.

JENNIFER BRDLIK / ELEVATED CARE

Illinois officials say the state's first medical marijuana patients have purchased nearly $801,000 worth of cannabis during the program's first month.

Program director Joseph Wright announced the figures Wednesday. The numbers indicate Illinois has collected roughly $56,550 in taxes from wholesale sales of medical marijuana during the month. Marijuana wholesalers pay a 7 percent tax to the state.
 
Wright says licensed dispensaries have served 1,713 unique patients. That's nearly half the 3,600 patients who have been approved for the program.

flickr/dankdepot

A pair of Libertarian political candidates are suing the state of Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law prohibits campaign donations from companies that grow or dispense cannabis.

Benjamin Barr is a lawyer with the Pillar of Law Institute in Washington, D.C. He says he filed the lawsuit because his clients favor legalization of drugs and should be able to seek support from like-minded businesses.

Today’s the day for many medical marijuana patients in Illinois. As many as eight dispensaries around the state are scheduled to open as the next chapter of legalizing medical marijuana begins.

Only around 33-hundred people have been granted medical cannabis licenses by state regulators. That’s one reason people in the industry have been coordinating informational meetings about how to apply. Last Wednesday, one such forum was held in Rockford.

No pictures, please.

WUIS

An Illinois veteran is asking a judge to reverse a state decision against adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

Daniel Paul Jabs filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, according to the court filing.

Attorney Michael K. Goldberg represents Jabs. He says four other patients plan to file similar complaints.

JENNIFER BRDLIK / ELEVATED CARE

The chair of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board isn’t holding out a lot of hope for some conditions to be approved for treatment with the drug, even after endorsing them a second time.

The list of eight recommended in the panel’s meeting last week included post-traumatic stress disorder and osteoarthritis.

Weeks before, Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah rejected those conditions, and nine others, while Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill supporting cannabis treatment for PTSD. 

flickr/dankdepot

An advisory board has voted to add eight health conditions, including chronic pain syndrome, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of illnesses that can be treated by marijuana in Illinois.

The state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board made the recommendations Wednesday at a meeting in suburban Chicago.

The suggestions next need approval by Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah, an appointee of Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Jennifer Brdlik

Is it marketing or an “awareness campaign?” That’s the question sparked by a company’s upcoming ads for medical marijuana.

Chicago-based Cresco Labs is the BIG player in Illinois’ medical marijuana market. It holds permits for cultivation centers in Joliet, Kankakee, and Lincoln. It’s a big investment for the company…so it’s investing what it says is “seven figures” worth of ads, in print and on radio, social media, and billboards.

The Demand For Medical Cannabis In Illinois

Sep 15, 2015
JENNIFER BRDLIK / ELEVATED CARE

Legislation creating Illinois’ medical marijuana law took effect at the start of 2014, but nearly two years into it, no product has been sold.  In Monday's report on the opening of one of the first cultivation sites, we heard about one of the companies growing the state’s first crop of medical cannabis.  

Now, we hear about those hoping to benefit. 

They include Army Veteran Dan Jabs, who served a 10-month tour in Iraq a decade ago. 

When he came back, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

flickr/dankdepot

Illinois may miss a deadline to rule on proposals for more qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The main sponsor of the program in the General Assembly says he’s not worried.

Monday went by without Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah ruling on whether to add 11 illnesses to the 40 to be covered when the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries open. That will likely be sometime in the fall. 

The list of recommendations from Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, osteoarthritis, and migraines. 

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / JENNIFER BRDLIK ELEVATED CARE

While Illinois deals with invasive Asian Carp in its waterways, medical marijuana plants are ripening for sale across the state. 

The two issues might share an economic link.

Medical cannabis is set for sale this fall.  That’s caught the attention of some of the state’s fishing industry.  

A fish processing company in northwestern Illinois sees the budding medical pot business as a new market for a product they sell, made of Asian Carp from the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  

10 Children Now Eligible For Medical Marijuana

Aug 7, 2015

Illinois has approved about 200 new patient applications for medical marijuana during July, including 10 children.

A total of 2,800 patients now have approval to use marijuana, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced this week.

The July announcement is the first time the department announced how many approved applicants are younger than 18.

JENNIFER BRDLIK / ELEVATED CARE

Illinois residents who want to add specific diseases to the state's medical marijuana pilot program have another chance to submit their suggestions starting tomorrow.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will accept petitions through July. Instructions will be posted on the program's website. An advisory board will review the petitions and hold a public hearing.

Jennifer Brdlik / Elevated Care

Patients, growers, and business owners are waiting while Illinois continues the process of setting up its medical cannabis program. One northern Illinois native is in all three of those roles in Arizona, where medical marijuana has been legal for five years. 

Jennifer Brdlik is operations director for “Elevated Care” and “Aromatic Kitchens,” companies that produce cannabis-based foods and tinctures. She spoke with WNIJ’s Susan Stephens about why she got into the business and where she thinks it’s headed in Illinois.

Thursday, June 25, 2015, at 7 p.m.

This "Context" public affairs event takes a closer look at Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program approved by state lawmakers.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Supporters of medical marijuana are holding a day-long event this Saturday in Chicago.  The Illinois Medical Cannabis Patients Summit is a workshop for people who want to become a registered medical marijuana patient or a caregiver. There’s a special evening workshop for veterans on how to navigate their health system if they feel they qualify for medical marijuana.

The event is co-sponsored by the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago and Americans for Safe Access-Illinois. It’s being held at the University Center in Chicago.

flickr/dankdepot

Illinois marijuana patients may be jumping the gun by submitting applications for diseases that aren’t approved yet. 

The state Public Health department says such applications will be rejected and fees will be refunded.

Health officials say a handful of applications came in from patients with health conditions recommended by an advisory board last week, including migraines, osteoarthritis and PTSD.

Caveman 92223 / Flickr

Illinois forfeited 13,000 pages of documents to attorneys who are challenging how the state awarded one medical marijuana business license.

This is the first release of this kind of material, but the records remain closed to journalists and the general public. The disclosure could soon shed light on the secretive process.

The records include applications from five companies that competed for a grower’s permit in a region covering Kankakee County.

The case is one of several similar lawsuits that are being closely watched by the new marijuana industry.

flickr/dankdepot

Patients with certain illnesses are on their way to being able to use medical marijuana in Illinois, but time is running out.

Illinois' medical marijuana program is set to continue for another two and a half years. Sick people haven't even been able to legally buy cannabis yet.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says that wasn't his intent; he'd wanted the program to last twice that long. Lang blames a delay in Illinois awarding licenses to firms to grow and sell cannabis.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/trawin/ (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Governor Bruce Rauner has announced a list of the companies that will be allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana in Illinois. Letters to 18 winning cultivation centers and 52 retail stores went out today. 

Caveman 92223 / Flickr

There's one issue nobody wants to talk about when it comes to state medical marijuana laws, and that's the part where people still have to break the law.

Getting the first seeds for medical operations often involves either shopping in the underground market or crossing state lines, which is a violation of state and federal laws. The situation is known as the "immaculate conception'' or the "first seed'' problem.

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