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Governor Rauner Officially Signs Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Extension Bill

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Governor Rauner Officially Signs Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Extension Bill

Quietly and without fanfare following the passage of Illinois’ “Stop-Gap” State Budget on June 30th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill 10, which will allow for the extension of the state's Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act through July 1, 2020. The program was previously set to sunset on January 1, 2018. Among the changes in SB 10 is clarification language in the Act regarding the "lawful" and "unlawful" use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes. It also expands the list of approved "debilitating medical conditions" to include post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live.

In an effort to further pacify some concerns in the medical community with the current certification process, changes were included in the verbiage of the physician certification section of the Act to simply require the physician to certify the patient's qualifying condition but no longer "recommend" the use of medical cannabis or attest to its effectiveness. SB 10 also requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to provide more cannabis use information for patients and makes procedural changes at the Department for the consideration and possible approval of additional "debilitating medical conditions." The IDPH will also be required to process applications within 14 days for terminally ill patients and submit certain qualifying patient information to the state's Prescription Monitoring Program. It also clarifies designated caregiver requirements for qualifying patients under the age of 18 and extends the renewal period for all qualifying patients and caregivers to three years instead of the current one-year renewal period and waives application fees and background check requirements for those patients deemed "terminally ill" by their certifying physicians. 

A link to SB 10... now known as Public Act 99-0519... is effective immediately and can be accessed below:

SB 10/PA 99-0519