Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill Thursday allowing those suffering from serious illnesses to use medical marijuana upon doctor recommendation.
The law has strict restrictions on users, cultivation centers, and dispensaries. Cultivation centers will have to be professional licensed with 24-hour surveillance and inventory control. There will be 22 centers, one for every State Police District, and each must be at least 2,500 feet from day care centers and schools.
The law will not allow patients or caregivers to cultivate the plant. Patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks and there will be a maximum of 60 licensed dispensaries.
Thirty-five medical conditions are eligible for medical marijuana use. They include muscular dystrophy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS. The patient and the prescribing physician must have an established relationship and minors and those with felony drug convictions or psychiatric conditions will not be eligible. Police officers, firefighters, probation officers, or school bus drivers will also not qualify. If a patient drives while under the influence of medical cannabis, they will face the same penalties as someone who drove while impaired by prescription drugs.
Use of medical cannabis will not be permitted on a school bus or school grounds, in a correctional facility, in a home used for childcare, or any public place. Landlords will be able to ban it on leased property and employers can also ban it from their businesses.
The drug will be taxed at one percent, the same rate as pharmaceuticals.
The law goes into effect on January 1 and is a four-year pilot program.
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