Illinois medical marijuana pilot program

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Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure on Tuesday that will allow medical cannabis to be used as an alternative treatment for conditions often treated with opioids, such as cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s and more.

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Lawmakers see chance for green with recreational marijuana.

Marijuana legalization is getting another look in Illinois, particularly for the money it could bring the state. The state has overdue bills nearing $9 billion after a more than two-year budget stalemate, and some argue a little extra cash could go a long way.

Kids who use medical marijuana for a qualifying condition might be allowed to use the drug on school grounds under a Illinois proposal. The legislation would allow parents to give cannabis medication to those kids if and when they need it.  

Amanda Vinicky

A cannabis dispensary is using a new tactic nearly a year into Illinois' slow-rollout of a medical marijuana program. The advertising campaign is designed to encourage doctors and patients to view cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

More than 10,000 Illinois residents are certified to use marijuana for medical purposes; Kyla Travis, a Springfield resident who has multiple sclerosis, is one of them.

"I'm almost 60 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 17. So for these many years, they had me on opiates," she says.

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Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is open to decriminalizing marijuana.

Rauner has a goal of reforming the criminal justice system. One way to do that, advocates say: issuing civil penalties for low-level drug charges.

marijuana buds next to prescription container
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An advisory board voted Monday to make a number of additional health conditions eligible for Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program. But Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has previously rejected the board's recommendations.

Amanda Vinicky

It had been a long time coming, but Illinois' pilot program for medical marijuana has finally kicked off last November. It's been slow growing for the industry so far, and there are many restrictions.  The business HCI Alternatives has two medical marijuana dispensaries in the state now.