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Medical Marijuana Arrives in Illinois

By JIM ANDERSON Illinois Radio Network
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Photo: ABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: ABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images

CBS St. Louis (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSStL.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSStL.com/Health

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - Medical marijuana is coming with the New Year.

It’ll be available to those who want it to relieve 40 medical conditions, and who get a recommendation from their doctor – but not right away, says Dan Linn, director of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“Jan. 1 is simply the day that this law takes effect. The agencies that are gonna oversee the different aspects of this program get 120 days from Jan. 1 just to write the rules and regulations for this program. After that, we can expect some kind of application process for the patients (and) for the people that are looking to get involved in the business industry as well,” he said.

The law calls for 60 dispensaries, distributed around the state by population, and 22 pot farms – officially known as cultivation centers – and once everyone is licensed, it takes about four months to produce the first crop.

Linn offers a warning that those who are involved as patients, dispensary operator or growers, even if they comply with the Illinois law, can still be busted by the FBI for violating federal law.

The law expires at the end of 2017, so it’s a four-year pilot episode, to see if medical marijuana can be regulated to the satisfaction of lawmakers. Linn says he expects 10,000 to 15,000 patients to participate.

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