Illinois – Senate Bill 284

Among topics such as boosting minimum wage and education change, the legalization of medical marijuana could be a topic during Indiana’s 2015 legislative session.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, said she would author Senate Bill 284 which would legalize medical marijuana. SB 284 would allow patients to obtain marijuana with a medical marijuana card and a doctor’s recommendation.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said he would support SB 284 because of his experience of losing his father to cancer.

This isn’t the first time the issue has been raised in the state legislature. Tallian has tried five different bills to decriminalize marijuana, none of which have passed committee, according to Indiana Business Journal. SB 284 has not yet been assigned to a committee.

In Illinois the penalty for possession of roughly one ounce of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail, unless the person has a prior drug conviction.

Senate Bill 284 would create a system where people with illnesses would get a card that authorizes them to possess marijuana if a medical professional recommends it. That’s similar to systems in other states.

SB 284 would also allow universities and hospitals to do research on medical marijuana, as well as create a new agency to recommend how the system would be developed.

Illinois medical marijuana program delayed !!!!

CHICAGO (AP) – Without explanation, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration has conceded it missed its end-of-the-year target for deciding which businesses will receive permits to begin the state’s pilot program with medical marijuana. Some observers think the decision could come in a matter of days.

The lag will force cultivation center owners to break ground during the coldest winter months, and, ultimately, delay harvest of the first cannabis crop. Patients who’ve paid $100 for marijuana registry cards will have to wait, perhaps until summer or beyond, before they can legally use the drug. Some patients say they’ll continue to use pot they’ve obtained on the black market.

“I hate to have to do anything illegal,” said Marla Levi, 51, of Buffalo Grove, who uses marijuana for multiple sclerosis symptoms and has been approved as a patient in the new program. “I believe it’s going to happen. In the meantime, I get it how I have to get it.”

The agency leading the program offered no explanation for the setback.

“We are strongly committed to bringing relief to thousands of people across the state and ensuring Illinois is the national model for implementing medical cannabis,” Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said in an email. “We are working hard to make sure this is done right.”

Arnold said the state is “conducting a comprehensive review of every cultivation center and dispensary applicant to ensure that only the most qualified are approved for this important program. We will announce the recipients when this important review is finished.”

A Skokie Democrat who sponsored the state’s medical marijuana legislation predicted permits will be awarded before Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner’s inauguration on Jan. 12.

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Congress Hands A Mixed Bag to Marijuana Movement

The year-end spending bill gives momentum to the marijuana movement, plus a painful setback

For the marijuana legalization movement, 2014 ends the way it began: with legal changes that showcase the movement’s momentum alongside its problems.

Tucked into the 1,603-page year-end spending bill Congress released Tuesday night were a pair of provisions that affect proponents of cannabis reform. Together they form a metaphor for the politics of legal cannabis—an issue that made major bipartisan strides this year, but whose progress is hampered by a tangle of local, state and federal statutes that have sown confusion and produced contradictory justice.

First the good news for reformers: the proposed budget would prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to prosecute patients or legal dispensaries in the 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, that passed some form of medical-marijuana legalization. The provision was crafted by a bipartisan group of representatives and passed the Republican-controlled House in May for the first time in seven tries. If passed into law, it would mark a milestone for the movement, restricting raids against dispensaries and inoculating patients from being punished for an activity that is legal where they live but in violation of federal law.

“The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana, and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said in a statement to TIME. The California Republican’s work on the issue reflects the strange coalition that has sprung up to support cannabis reform as the GOP’s libertarian wing gains steam and voters’ views evolve.

At the same time, the House chose to overrule Washington, D.C., on the issue. Last month voters in the District chose to liberalize its marijuana laws, passing an initiative that legalized the possession, consumption and cultivation of recreational marijuana. The move, which was supported by about 70% of the capital’s voters, paved the way for D.C. to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington State by establishing a tax-and-regulatory structure for cannabis sales in 2015.


Illinois to hold 3 town halls on medical marijuana

By Carla K. Johnson
CHICAGO – As Illinois’ new medical marijuana program gets underway, potential patients, growers and retailers have questions. State officials plan to hold three town hall meetings across Illinois to provide answers, particularly about the application process, which starts next month.

Multiple sclerosis patient Marla Levi of Buffalo Grove plans to apply for the required ID card so she can buy marijuana legally from a state-approved dispensary. She’s found that the plant* helps relieve the rigidity in her legs, she said. She wants to attend one of the meetings to get more information.

“This is my first question: When will I actually be able to have medical marijuana in my hands?” Levi said. The best guess from state officials is sometime next year. The Illinois law doesn’t allow patients to grow their own marijuana. A limited number of cultivation permits will be issued to businesses around the state.

Growers and retailers are still pacing at the starting line, awaiting the opening of a competitive two-week application process, expected to start Sept. 8.

The entrepreneurs got a hint at the scoring process Friday when state officials posted guidelines on the program’s website. Dispensary applicants, for example, can get up to 1,000 points for required documentation of their plans for business, security, record-keeping, financial disclosures and an optional bonus section for planning scientific studies, providing benefit to the local community or fighting substance abuse.

The first town hall meeting will be Thursday in the southern Illinois city of Collinsville, according to the state program’s website. That meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Kenneth Hall State Regional Office Building. Other meetings are set for Aug. 18 in Peoria and Aug. 20 in Chicago.

Cairo, Illinois – MMJnews Update

Cairo may become the home of one of Illinois’ 22 medical marijuana grow operations.

Area 51 Growers, based in New Athens, Ill. and Sikeston, Mo., has reached an agreement with the city to install a $4 million medical marijuana cultivation facility on 10 acres of municipally-owned land. The company will lease the land from the city for 5 percent of its earnings, and put another 5 percent into a non-profit company that will fund community programs like drug treatment centers, food banks, school supply drives and high school dropout prevention.

A minimum of 40 percent of employees will be from Cairo and the company estimates it will have a yearly economic impact of $3 to $9 million on the community.

Roger Allen from Area 51 Growers said Cairo’s location makes it a perfect place to grow marijuana.

“It’s further south than Richmond, Virginia,” Allen said “Any place that can produce cotton or rice, compared to the middle of the state of Illinois or the upper part of the state of Illinois, is just a better place to grow plants.”

Everything hinges on whether or not the state grants one of its 22 licenses to Area 51. Allen hopes to begin production in early 2015, but that depends on how long it takes the state of Illinois to grant the licenses.

“As soon as the applications are available we will have ours filled out, the deposits in and be waiting for our license to come through,” Allen said.

Security at the facility will be tight, according to Cairo mayor Tyrone Coleman.

“I have no reservations whatsoever. The security and the regulations and all of that is just totally awesome,” Coleman said. “It will be like Fort Knox.”

Every marijuana plant will have a microchip that will allow the company to track its whereabouts. A representatives from the Illinois Department of Agriculture will count and scan each plant to ensure each one is accounted for, according to Allen.

“In addition to that, we’re not allowed to dispose of any stems, seeds or roots until we’re given the go by the Illinois Department of Agriculture,” Allen said.

Allen compared the facility’s security to that of a medium-security prison.

For Roger Allen, medical marijuana is more of a personal quest than a financial decision.

“The ability to be able to work with product that has the ability to stop seizures was very crucial to me,” Allen said.

A grand mal seizure caused Allen’s infant daughter to die in his arms, but she was soon resuscitated by emergency medical technicians. Allen said it was difficult to get her seizures under control and she was later prescribed phenobarbital which led to some learning difficulties.

“Now it’s clearly understood that one dose of … cannabis extract stops seizures cold,” Allen said. “If we had the ability to use medical cannabis, she would not have gone through all of those complications brought on by phenobarbital.”

Allen has a 50,000 square foot facility in Sikeston where he is a setting up a plant that will manufacture locks and ammunition, and a small facility that will convert buses into tour buses.

Illinois Governor Quinn to OK cannabis use for kids with epilepsy

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign legislation in Chicago today that would let minors with epilepsy use medical marijuana.
Lawmakers approved the measure sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Iris Martinez and Rep. Lou Lang this spring. The bill would add epilepsy to the list of treatable diseases in Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program. It also would allow children with epilepsy to consume oil from the marijuana plant with a parent’s consent. Currently, only Illinois residents 18 years and older may use medical marijuana in the state’s four-year pilot program.
Parents of children with epilepsy say consuming the oil reduces seizures and doesn’t make children feel high. Opponents disagree with further legalizing the plant. The legislation would be effective next January.


The bill is SB2636.

Illinois legislative committee approves rules

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois legislative committee approved rules Tuesday for the state’s medical cannabis program, which means would-be growers and retailers can soon apply for permits and get the new industry started.

A state law enacted last year authorized a four-year pilot project that will expire in 2017, but so far, not a single marijuana seed has been planted. Now that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules signed off on the regulations, state agencies that are running the program can start posting applications for a limited number of grower and retailer permits.

Patients will be able to apply for the required identification cards starting in September. The first products may be sold early next year if all goes smoothly, state officials said.

Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, who sponsored the medical cannabis legislation, praised state agency officials for what he called a reasonable amount of time to write the rules and gather public feedback. He also commended Gov. Pat Quinn.

“Only an involved governor’s office could have gotten us to this point,” Lang said.

Illinois officials haven’t publicly estimated the size of the potential market or the taxes it could generate from 21 cultivation centers selling to 60 dispensaries around the state.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group, estimates more than 10,000 patients could eventually sign up in Illinois.

“We do expect it will be thousands, hopefully tens of thousands (of patients) in the first year,” said Illinois Department of Public Health attorney Bob Morgan, who is coordinating the program.

Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, a leading expert on marijuana legalization, made a rough calculation for Illinois’ annual sales of $20 million to $30 million. Growers will pay a 7 percent privilege tax on their marijuana sales and the state will collect up to $6 million in annual fees for permits.

Illinois is one of a growing number of states that has authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with New York recently becoming the 23rd state earlier this month.

In early 2013 before the Illinois’ law was enacted, a poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University found that 63 percent of state residents favored legalizing medical marijuana.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Illinois.

The Illinois law lists dozens of medical diagnoses that can qualify a patient to use medical pot, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy and others.
Starting in September, patients will be able to apply for a required medical cannabis registry identification card. The Illinois Department of Public Health plans to take applications from patients with last names starting with A through L in September and October, and M through Z in November and December.

Illinois towns see jobs ahead in medical marijuana -NWHerald.Com

CHICAGO – The prospect of adding jobs – even as few as 30 – has led officials in many shrinking Illinois’ communities to set aside any qualms about the state’s legalization of medical marijuana and to get friendly with would-be growers.

The aspiring growers and their agents have been racing from town to town, shaking hands with civic leaders and promising to bring jobs and tax revenue if they’re able to snag one of the 21 cultivation permits the state will grant this fall. Although not a single plant has sprouted, Illinois’ new medical marijuana industry is pushing the boundaries of what is considered attractive economic development.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a company say, ‘Hey, we want to bring in 50 jobs and we want to bring in tax revenue to your school,’” said Liz Skinner, the mayor of Delavan, a central Illinois city of 1,700 residents. The city has annexed property optioned by Joliet-based ICC Holdings as a possible site for a marijuana cultivation center, and Skinner said a new tax increment financing district may be the next step.

Stephen Osborne, an attorney who represents a group vying for one of the growing permits, has been driving from town to town in southern Illinois and introducing himself to local officials. Mostly, he’s been welcomed warmly: “It’s a ‘What took you so long to get here’ type of response,” he said. “Once you mention 30 or more jobs in a small community, they’ll listen to what you have to say.”

A majority of Americans – 54 percent – favor making marijuana legal at least for medicinal use, according to a Pew Research Center poll of 1,821 adults conducted in February. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. New York recently became the 23rd state to make medical marijuana legal. Six months before the Illinois law was enacted, a poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University found that 63 percent of Illinoisans favored making medical use of marijuana legal.

In Illinois, city councils from Crystal Lake to Peru to Marion are considering marijuana zoning ordinances and special use permits, though the state is not tracking precisely how many. Permit seekers have simply moved on from the few communities that have voted down such proposals.

The process for building local support “starts with a conversation over the phone,” explained Michael Mayes, CEO of Chicago-based Quantum 9 Inc., a cannabis consulting company that has helped win permits for marijuana producers in four other states. He said the ultimate goal would be to get a letter of recommendation from a mayor that can be submitted to the state.

Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program update

There’s a medical marijuana law on the books in Illinois, but patients can’t yet use the drug here legally.

That’s going to change soon.

On Tuesday, lawmakers who make up the obscure but powerful Joint Committee on Administrative Rules are meeting in Chicago to discuss the rules that would implement the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

If the committee has no objections, the rules can officially be put to use and the process to begin registering patients, dispensers and growers can begin.

Patients who are approved by the state are expected to be able to start using medical marijuana early next year, said Bob Morgan, the state’s medical marijuana program coordinator and a lawyer for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

People with debilitating medical conditions seeking to use medical marijuana will be able to apply for a registry identification card beginning in September, Morgan said, though the application process will be staggered.

Applications for those seeking to sell or grow pot also will be out about the same time, Morgan said.

Then state officials will have to decide who gets the limited business permits for locations throughout the state — 60 for dispensaries and 21 for marijuana growers.

The medical marijuana, which has to be grown in the state, likely will be available for consumption in early 2015, Morgan said.

Though Illinois’ medical marijuana program is highly regulated, there are still many unknowns.

It’s not yet known how many patients will be participating, Morgan said.

“We do know that there are at least 100,00 to 200,000 patients that will be eligible just based on medical conditions,” he said.

The Marijuana Policy Project estimates about 10,000 people will become registered as patients, though that likely will take some time, said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst with the Washington-based group.

But in Illinois, the program likely won’t develop as slowly as it has in other states, he said.

”A lot of people now know about medical marijuana,” Lindsey said. “They’ve heard about this in Illinois.”

Morgan said Illinois is anticipating and preparing for “at least tens of thousands [of patients] in the first year.”

That could mean revenue for the state, but the details of that are not yet known either.

So far, based on the number of dispensaries and cultivation centers that can open, the state can collect up to $1.8 million a year from the dispensary’s registration fee of $30,000 and $4.2 million a year from growers who will have to pay $200,000 for the annual permit. People who want to grow or sell marijuana will also have to pay a nonrefundable application fee — $5,000 for dispensaries and $25,000 for cultivation centers — and there are no estimates as to how many potential applicants there will be, though Morgan expects it to exceed the number allotted to open.

Cultivation centers also will pay a 7 percent privilege tax on the sales price per ounce of the marijuana.

Colorado, which started its program more than a decade ago, reported nearly $18 million in medical marijuana revenue so far this year. As of April, more than 116,000 patients were registered to use medical marijuana in Colorado.

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, a member of the committee that will meet on Tuesday and sponsor of the medical marijuana legislation, said he’s not concerned about the lack of information on revenue.

“To me, this bill is about patients, not revenue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Morgan hopes patients eligible to participate in the marijuana program start preparing for its rollout.

“Right now, we think it’s a good time for patients to be having that conservation with their physicians and their caregivers if they have any interest in participating in the program,” he said.

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