As New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed a new medical marijuana bill into law on July 23, Illinois MMJ bill still awaits Governor Quinn signature.
The last New England state turned green on Tuesday July 23 as New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan signed the local mmj bill, bringing to 19 the number of medical marijuana states.
This number is likely to turn 20 on august 4 when Illinois House Bill 1 becomes law unless Governor Quinn decide to veto it at the last minute, a very unlikely prospect. House Bill 1 was sent to the Governor’s desk on June 5. Under Illinois law, if the Governor fails to sign or veto a bill within 60 days of receiving it from the legislature, the bill automatically becomes law.
Under a temporary medical marijuana pilot program, House Bill 1 would allow people suffering from specific medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Qualified patients would be able to obtain marijuana from one of up to 60 dispensaries, which would acquire marijuana from up to 22 cultivation centers. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and Department of Financial & Professional Regulation would regulate the cultivation, acquisition, and distribution of marijuana.
Under the four-year pilot program outlined in the Illinois bill, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of 33 debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS in order to qualify for medical marijuana. Patients must register with the state’s health department and have written certification from their physicians.
Patients will be limited to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of marijuana every two weeks. The marijuana must be grown in Illinois, kept in a closed container, and not used in public or in front of minors.
Those who use, grow or sell medical marijuana must be fingerprinted and undergo background checks during the application process. Patients suspected of driving under the influence face the loss of not only their driving privileges, but also their medical marijuana cards.
Although one of the most restrictive in the country, House Bill 1 would make Illinois the 2nd largest medical marijuana state just behind California. Next in line is another heavyweight, NY State.