Here's an update on the revised Medical Marijuana bill that is being considered in IL. The revisions seek to regulate cannabis use and procurement in a more restrictive way than previous versions. Below is the contents of a pdf. summary on the bill, put out by Marijuana Policy Project:
"What Would The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act Do?"
Sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang, HB 30 would create a limited exception to Illinois’ criminal laws to permit
the doctor-advised medical use of cannabis by patients with serious medical conditions.
Decriminalizing Patient Use: A patient is 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 underlying qualifying condition and with whom the patient has a “bona fide
physician-patient relationship.” This will prevent doctors from specializing or practicing exclusively in
providing recommendations as has happened in other states.
Qualifying Medical Conditions: The qualifying conditions are: cancer; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS; hepatitis
C; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Crohn's disease; agitation of Alzheimer's disease; or a medical
condition that produces wasting syndrome, severe intractable pain that has not responded to other
treatments for a reasonable period of time or for which other treatments produced serious side effects,
severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms. In addition to the primary physician’s
certification, any patient with intractable pain must also have a second, verifying physician submit
documentation that the patient suffers from intractable pain.
Non-Profit Medical Cannabis Organizations (Dispensaries): Unlike previous iterations of medical
cannabis legislation in Illinois, HB 30 would not permit patients or caregivers to cultivate marijuana.
Instead, patients will purchase medical cannabis from state-regulated Medical Cannabis Organizations
(MCOs), which would cultivate the medical cannabis.
MCOs must be non-profit and must be issued a registration by the Department of Public Health to operate. MCO applicants must pay a $10,000 application fee and must submit a valid application, including a location that complies with local zoning
laws, and planned procedures for oversight, security, and recordkeeping that comply with department
rules. The Department would also conduct background checks on prospective MCO agents and must deny
the application if any principal officer has been convicted of a violent crime or a felony involving a
All compassion centers would be subject to random inspection and all of their staff
would have to undergo background checks. Compassion centers may not locate within 1,000 feet of a
school or share office space with physicians. All cannabis would have to be cultivated in enclosed, locked
facilities with appropriate security measures in place. Any MCO that fails to comply with the Act could
have its registration suspended or revoked by the Department.
Finally, the bill would also create enhanced penalties for any MCO agent who illegally possesses or
distributes marijuana under the guise of medical cannabis. For example, manufacturing or delivering 2.5-
10 grams of cannabis is typically a Class A misdemeanor, but would become a Class 3 felony if
committed by a MCO agent.
Medical Marijuana Possession Limits: A patient must designate only one MCO where s/he would be
able to receive medical cannabis, and MCOs 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. Caregivers, who may serve only one patient, would be permitted to pick up medicine for very ill,
homebound patients and would also be subject to this possession limit.
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, and MCO agents – will be issued ID cards by the Department of Public Health. These cards
will include an issue and expiration date, as well as a random alphanumeric identification number, which
can be used to help confirm the card’s validity. The Department may also require the cards to contain a
photograph of the cardholder.
Restrictions on driving: The bill prohibits anyone from operating any motor vehicle while under the
influence of cannabis. Moreover, separate amendments to the Illinois Vehicle Code would prohibit a
patient from operating a motor vehicle within four hours of ingesting cannabis or with a concentration of
15 nanograms per milliliter of cannabis in the person’s urine or 5 nanograms per milliliter of whole blood.
Impact on employers: The bill states specifically that it does not prohibit an employer from disciplining
an employee for “ingesting cannabis in the workplace, working while under the influence of cannabis
(defined using the same standards proposed for the Illinois Vehicle Code – 5 nanograms/milliliter of
blood, or 15 nanograms/milliliter of urine), or for otherwise violating the proper standard of care.”
Separately, the bill also states that it does not interfere with any federal restrictions and regulations on
Department of Public Health Oversight: In addition to the statutory restrictions contained in the Act,
cardholders and MCOs would also be required to comply with DPH rules issued pursuant to the Act.
These rules would govern program elements such as MCO oversight, recordkeeping and security
requirements, procedures for suspending or terminating registrations and ID cards for those who fail to
comply with the Act, the amount of plants MCOs can cultivate at any given time, and the fees paid by
patients and MCOs. With respect to this last point, the Department must set fees high enough to offset
all costs of implementation and administration of the Act.
As it implements and administers the program, the Department is tasked with meeting and consulting with
stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, patients, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and representatives
of the business community. These stakeholders will provide the Department with input regarding the
sufficiency of patients’ access to medical cannabis, the effectiveness of MCOs and whether they are
receiving complaints, the reasonableness of fees on patients, the sufficiency of safeguards, new research
in the field of medical cannabis, and any recommended additions or revisions to the Departments rules
regarding security, safe handling, labeling, and nomenclature.
Finally, the Department would submit an annual report to the General Assembly outlining key information on the program, such as the number of applications and renewals filed for registry ID cards and the number of physicians providing written
certifications, among other things, that would allow the legislature to take any necessary additional action.
Common sense restrictions: While the Act would protect qualifying patients from arrest and
prosecution, it maintains common sense restrictions. For example, all persons, including cardholders,
would be prohibited from smoking cannabis on the premises of an MCO or in any public place, or
undertaking 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.
Additionally, cardholders would be prohibited from providing cannabis to anyone not authorized by the
Act, and those who do so would be subject to enhanced penalties.