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 Illinois cannabis law help and information

This site is devoted to clear, accurate information about the business and law of medical cannabis in Illinois. It strives to be a helpful resource for patients, physicians, health care professionals, entrepreneurs, bankers, employers, journalists and the general public.

This site is managed by an Illinois attorney, Bradley Vallerius, who helps businesses and individuals understand the coming changes and prepare accordingly.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act

Illinois’ medical marijuana law was signed by Governor Quinn on August 1, 2013 and became effective January 1, 2014. The law draws from the best standards and practices of 20 other states who preceded Illinois in allowing citizens to use cannabis as medicine.

Main points of the law:

  • Cardholding patients with “debilitating medical conditions” may purchase and use cannabis medicine.
  • Physicians must comply with procedures for certifying patients to use cannabis medicine.
  • After receiving a physician’s written certification, a patient must apply for a registration card through Illinois’ Department of Public Health.
  • A patient may designate one “caregiver” to assist with purchasing and administering cannabis medicine.
  • Rules for safe use and possession keep cannabis away from public places and traffic.
  • Private businesses have the right to restrict or prohibit cannabis on their property.
  • Employers have the right to make and enforce reasonable policies that restrict or prohibit cannabis at work.
  • Conflict of interest rules prevent inter-relations among physicians, cultivation centers, and dispensaries.
  • Patients may use (but not smoke) cannabis medicine at health care facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care centers, and long-term care facilities.
  • A new intrastate industry is anchored by two new types of businesses:
    • Up to 21 cultivation centers for growing cannabis plants and manufacturing medicines, including serums, tinctures, topicals, and edible baked goods such as cookies and brownies.
    • Up to 60 dispensaries for selling cannabis products to patients and caregivers.
  • Applies a 7% cultivation privilege tax on all sales from a cultivation center to dispensary.

Implementing the law through administrative agencies

Beginning January 1, four agencies of Illinois’ government began the process of adopting regulations to govern activities under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Following a public commentary period and necessary First Notice and Second Notice procedural formalities, final versions of regulations were certified by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) on July 15, 2014.

1. Illinois Department of Public Health: Regulations for Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Patient Registry (77 Ill. Adm. Code 946)

  • Defines elements of the patient-physician relationship that must exist before a physician can issue a written certification.
  • Special rules apply to veterans and VA hospitals in lieu of a physician’s written certification.
  • Explains the process for registering as a patient or caregiver.
  • Contains mechanisms to ensure patient information is kept confidentially by the Health Department and dispensaries.
  • Includes a petition and review process through which the Health Department may consider expanding the list of debilitating medical conditions.
  • Contains rules giving the Health Department powers to regulate and inspect infused products and edibles at licensed cultivation centers.

2. Illinois Department of Agriculture: Regulations for Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (8 Ill. Adm. Code 1000)

  • Sets technical rules for the safe and efficient operation of “cultivation centers”– closely regulated facilities for growing cannabis plants and manufacturing medicines and edibles derived from cannabis.
  • Spatial requirements prohibit a cultivation center from locating within 2500 feet of residential zones, schools, and child care facilities.
  • Requires extensive security measures, including comprehensive video surveillance, alarm systems, smart layout design, appropriate locks, and more.
  • Requires extensive inventory and recordkeeping measures, including a “cannabis plant monitoring system” that can monitor nutrient inputs and plant growth (from seed to sale).
  • Requires that samples of all harvested cannabis be tested by an independent, state-licensed laboratory to determine the proportion of cannabinoids and to detect the presence of mold, fungus, bacteria, and other contaminants.
  • Sets rules for the safe packaging and labeling of cannabis medicine.
  • Sets rules for the conduct of agents and employees of a cultivation center.
  • Sets marketing and advertising rules for cultivation centers.
  • Contains the rules for the competitive application process and the scoring criteria which shall be used to distinguish the relative strengths of competing applicants.

3. Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR): Rules for Administration of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (68 Ill. Adm. Code 1290)

  • Sets technical rues for the safe and efficient sale of cannabis medicines to card carrying patients and caregivers.
  • Spatial requirements prohibit a dispensary from locating in a residential zone or within 1000 feet of schools or child care facilities.
  • Sets rules to protect the confidentiality of patient information.
  • Requires clear, logical demarcation between limited access areas and restricted access areas.
  • Sets rules for the conduct of agents and employees of a dispensary.
  • Sets rules for effective inventory management.
  • Sets marketing and advertising rules for dispensaries.
  • Contains the rules for the competitive application process and the scoring criteria which shall be used to distinguish the relative strengths of competing applicants.

4. Illinois Department of Revenue: Retailers’ Occupation Tax (86 Ill. Adm. Code 130)

  • Cannabis products are classified as “prescription and nonprescription medicines and drugs,” so that dispensaries must pay tax of 1% under the Retailers’ Occupation Tax.
  • Cannabis paraphernalia is subject to the general merchandise rate of 6.25%.

Implications for employers and the banking and  health care industries

Changing cannabis laws present new legal problems if a business does not adjust its policies accordingly. Employers, for example, may need to adjust their employee workplace policies to prevent workers from becoming impaired and causing accidents on the job. Private businesses and other places open to the public may wish to restrict or prohibit the use of cannabis on their premises in order to avoid accidents. Landlords may wish to prohibit smoking but cannot prohibit ingesting by other means. Meanwhile health care professionals receive a subtle new layer of responsibilities, procedures, and recordkeeping requirements that cannot be ignored.

Illinois cannabis lawyer helps businesses prepare and protect

The keeper of this website, Bradley Vallerius, is an attorney who can help you understand the coming changes and the measures you should take to improve your policies and protocols and avoid accidents and liabilities. Vallerius’ practice is focused exclusively on medical cannabis issues.

Vallerius’ office is located in Gillespie, Macoupin County, Illinois, and he travels easily to serve clients throughout the state, including Belleville, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Alton, Carbondale, Marion, Springfield, Bloomington, Champaign, Quincy, Decatur, Jacksonville, Peoria, Rockford, and Chicago. Call 480-382-5537 to find out how Vallerius can help.

Vallerius Group LLC | 800 Francis St. | Gillespie, IL 62033 | 480-382-5537