Cannabis, known as the “marijuana plant”, is one of the most controversial topics in the media today. For years, updates on the marijuana policy have stirred several debates and discussions in relation to state budgeting, decriminalization, and tax burdens. Marijuana usage has increased steadily over the past two years throughout the United States. Many state regulators are aware of the effects of marijuana and the various illnesses that can be treated by utilizing the drug. In the past decade, states have decided to pass bills in order to legalize the use of medical marijuana. On November 9, 2015, medical marijuana made its debut in the state of Illinois.
Medical dispensaries began opening for business to sell the product to patients and caregivers all over the Chicagoland area. Patients bought $210,000 of medical marijuana in the first week it was legal. Since the bill was passed in 2013, marijuana has been treatment for medical illnesses such as chronic pain, insomnia, glaucoma, seizure disorders, and many types of cancer. Although the drug has been approved for medical use, many patients were turned away on the first day. This issue left many patients concerned, especially those whom plan to substitute cannabis for other medications.
The permit is given based on the individuals health requirements, in which must be one of listed qualifying conditions. As of September 2015, thirty-nine conditions have been listed in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Some of these conditions include: Alzheimer ’s disease, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis C, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other health related issues. There are regulations that must be followed in order to use medical marijuana in Illinois. Patients must be fingerprinted, undergo a background check, and pay $150 a year for a special photo I.D. This process may sound pretty simple, yet takes time to be registered.
Many groups are opposed to the idea of medical marijuana. Chuck Rosenberg, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, called medical marijuana “a joke”, stating that it has not gone through strict regulatory testing like prescriptions drugs. Many others put marijuana in the category with heroin, including the Federal Law. Hopefully, it is seen more for its positive attributes and brings great relief to those individuals with serious health problems.