JCAR has certified all regulations under Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, thereby finalizing the rules that will govern the Pilot Program and giving the Departments of Agriculture and Professional and Financial Regulation (DFPR) ability to issue applications for cultivation centers and dispensaries.
Only July 15, JCAR (Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) approved all four separate sets of regulations to carry out the Pilot Program (minutes of the meeting will soon appear on JCAR’s website). Incidentally, none of the Pilot Program regulations were published in last week’s edition of the Illinois Register. Technically regulations do not become effective until published in the Register, but no further changes to Pilot Program regulations should be expected until after the competitive application process for cultivation center and dispensary permits is concluded.
Finalized versions of the regulations (as certified by JCAR but not yet published in the Illinois Register) are available on the State of Illinois’ website devoted to the Pilot Program. The most substantial changes are as follows:
Illinois Department of Public Health, Rules for Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
- The regulations certified by JCAR contain an entirely new Section 946.275, which provides a procedure for suspending a patient’s Registry Identification Card. Previous versions of the Health Department’s regulations envisioned only the complete revocation of a card upon a violation of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, its regulations, or criminal law.
Illinois Department of Agriculture, Rules for Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
- The regulations certified by JCAR specify that the $2 million escrow account or surety bond does not need to be submitted to the Agriculture Department until 15 days following the agency’s award of a permit registration to a winning applicant. The first draft of regulations did not specify if this requirement needed to be shown prior to application submission. A later version would have required this item to be shown within 90 days of winning a permit registration. (Section 1000.40(g)(1)(B)(iii)).
- The regulations certified by JCAR now specify that the Agriculture Department will accept cultivation center applications for only “14 calendar days after the date indicated on the Department’s website as the commencement date for accepting applications.” (Section 1000.100(b)). Previous versions indicated that prospective applicants would have a full 30 days following the agency’s publication of application documents.
- The regulations certified by JCAR require that any agent or employee of a cultivation center who “applies pesticide on the premises” must obtain a license from the Agriculture Department under the Illinois Pesticide Control Act (415 ILCS 60). To obtain the license, the agent or employee must complete the Vegetable Category Examinations under 8 Ill. Adm. Code 250. Previous versions of the Agriculture Department regulations did not require any agent or employee to obtain a Pesticide Control Act license. (Section 1000.470(c).
- The regulations certified by JCAR contain an appendix containing an extensive list of authorized pesticides and acceptable concentration amounts. Prior versions of regulations contained no appendix or list of authorized pesticides.
- The regulations certified by JCAR clarify that a physician may serve as an independent contractor to a cultivation center, “provided the physician’s involvement in the cultivation center is limited exclusively to designing or conducting non-proprietary medical research or studies.” (Section 1290.425(l)). This is an important provision because the Compassionate Use Act contains conflicts of interest rules which prohibit a physician from serving as an employee or board member of a cultivation center of dispensary.
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Rules for Medical Cannabis Pilot Program
- The regulations certified by JCAR contain new language giving DFPR broad discretion to refuse to grant a registration or permit to a dispensary unless it is satisfied that the applicant is composed of reputable individuals who are fit to operate a dispensary. (Section 1290.70(e)).
- The regulations certified by JCAR clarify that a physician may serve as an independent contractor to a dispensary, “provided the physician’s involvement is limited exclusively to designing, implementing or conducting non-proprietary medical research or studies.” (Section 1290.425(l)). This is an important provision because the Compassionate Use Act contains conflicts of interest rules which prohibit a physician from serving as an employee or board member of a cultivation center of dispensary.