After many months of bureaucratic issues, the medical marijuana pilot program in Illinois may be poised to get off the ground. Officials at a facility in the southeastern part of the state announced this week that their company has received authorization to begin producing the genetic strains that will form the basis of marijuana products for approved legal use. Located in Albion, Illinois, Ataraxia is the first company to begin state-sanctioned production of marijuana under the medical-use program that went into effect nearly 20 months ago.
Medical Use Pilot Program
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed into law nearly two years ago and took effect on January 1, 2014. The Act was intended to permit medial marijuana use on essentially a trial basis for specifically approved health conditions. Patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Rheumatoid arthritis, and various forms of cancer, among many other conditions are eligible to register for participation in the program. To date, approximately 2,600 applications have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Delays in Implementation
While patient applications began rolling into state offices almost immediately, guidelines and oversight for legal marijuana production were relatively slow to be established. As regulations were being put in place, the state also faced several legal challenges over the selection of production vendors. It seems, however, that Illinois has finally been able to overcome the challenges and is allowing the production process to get started.
This week’s announcement included a forecast by Ataraxia CEO George Archos estimating that a full range of products will be available by October. If the estimates are accurate, the first legally-grown marijuana for medical use will be available some 22 months after the law first took effect. Lawmakers have proposed an extension to the intended four-year pilot program to account for the delay, but Governor Bruce Rauner has yet to decide on the legislation.
Recreational Marijuana Remains Illegal
As the Illinois medical marijuana program begins to move forward, it is important to remember that unlicensed production and recreational use is against the law. Charges of possession, distribution, and manufacturing of marijuana can be extremely serious and may impact an individual’s life for years to come. If you are facing any marijuana-related offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Joliet . We will review your case and help you take steps to minimize the effects on your future.