August 17, 2014. Springfield, IL. (ONN) Officials from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program announced that applications for patients, doctors, distributors and growers are now available. The Illinois Medical Marijuana law went into effect January 1st, but it’s taken the state all year to turn the law into an actual functioning program. Applications will be accepted in two stages, based alphabetically by the applicant’s last name. There are also other fees and specifics that participants should be aware of.
23 states and DC have legalized Medical Marijuana as of Jan 1, 2014. Image courtesy of Americans For Safe Access.
Medical Marijuana patients
Illinois residents who wish to apply for a permit to buy, possess and consume medical marijuana, and who believe they have one of the many medical conditions that make them eligible, will be able to submit their application to state officials beginning in two weeks. Patients whose last names begin with the letters A through L can begin applying on September 2 through October 31. Those whose last names begin with M through Z will have an application window of November 1 through December 31.
The cost for medical marijuana patients includes a yearly $100 application fee. A discounted fee of $50 per year is extended to military veterans and those on Social Security Disability. The fee goes toward a fingerprint background check on all applicants that authorities conduct after the patient signs a consent form. State officials insist would-be patients must wait until the appropriate start date before submitting any applications or documents. The agency insists that any forms submitted before that date will be discarded.
Dispensaries and growers
While the patients’ application has finally been approved and released, the application for prospective marijuana shops and marijuana farms has been posted online, but is only a draft version. ‘We anticipate the application window for Dispensary and Cultivation Center Applicants to be Monday, September 8, 2014 through Monday, September 22, 2014,’ the state website notes, ‘More details will follow in the coming weeks.’
The Illinois Medical Marijuana law allows 60 dispensaries around the state, with 13 allocated for Chicago. The cultivation centers, or marijuana farms, will be capped at 21 across the state. Both types of facilities have been strapped with local zoning laws enacted by anti-medical marijuana politicians in a handful of towns and cities in Illinois, including Chicago. In many instances, patients will have to travel a long distance to an industrial park with few streets and no sidewalks just to obtain their doctor-prescribed medication.
The rich get richer, everyone else gets poorer
In yet another example of why the rich keep getting richer while everyone else gets poorer, the Illinois Medical Marijuana program only allows the very wealthy to profit from the new industry. Rather than make the entire process medical-based, community-based, or charity-based, state Democrats with a super majority in the Illinois Legislature set up the law so that it would be based on money and political clout.
Hopeful dispensary owners must include a non-refundable $5,000 application fee. If approved as one of the coveted 60 legal shops, owners must then pay a $30,000 registration fee and prove they have at least $400,000 in liquid assets. On top of that, they are required to secure a $50,000 bond before they can open up for business.
Those who would like to open one of the state’s 21 marijuana farms will have to pony up even more money. All potential applicants must pay a $25,000 non-refundable application fee. If approved, they must then pay a $200,000 permit fee. They must also provide evidence they possess $500,000 in liquid assets and then secure a bond for $2 million.
Town Hall meetings
To answer questions from those who hope to participate in the Illinois Medical Marijuana program, officials quickly scheduled three community meetings with very little notice. The first meeting was held downstate in Collinsville three days ago. The second meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in Peoria. And the final town hall will occur in Chicago on August 20 at Northeastern University.
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program website contains all the various applications for patients, dispensaries, doctors and growers. The Fingerprint Consent form is also available, as well as zoning information for potential dispensers and growers, and a FAQ publication for patients and caregivers.
To access the various applications or to obtain more information, visit the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program website.
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