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Interview: The Future Of Illinois' Medical Cannabis Program

The state’s medical cannabis pilot program  has three more years before it is set to expire. Despite the looming deadline, dispensaries continue to open across the state, offering treatment alternatives to patients with cancer, PTSD, Lupus—and many other health conditions.

Maribis is the second dispensary to serve the Springfield area, opening in Grandview this past January. HCI Alternatives has been in operation in downtown Springfield since April of 2016.

Some in the medical cannabis industry say that despite the growing number of patients requesting the cannabis alternative, applications to obtain it are not being processed fast enough. This has slowed down the growth of an industry that was expected to grow exponentially over the last three years.

We spoke to Bret Bender, who runs the Maribis dispensary in Grandview. He was involved in drafting the state’s original medical cannabis law, which continues to undergo changes as more health conditions are added.

Despite some of the set-backs that the industry has faced, Bender says, medical cannabis has had positive impacts, such as improving the quality of life for those with opioid addictions.

He updates us on the future of the medical cannabis industry in the state:

Daisy reported on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project. She's a Public Affairs Reporting program graduate from the University of Illinois Springfield. She also graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and has an associates degrees from Truman College. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.
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