Bryce Edwards

Illinois Medical Cannabis is Struggling, Needs More Patients to Survive

Illinois medical marijuana shops predict that the industry needs to undergo significant expansions over the next year if the program is to survive, reports the Daily Herald.

Regulators in Illinois have reported $1.7 million in medical cannabis sales as of November, 2015, and there are an estimated 4,500 patients currently registered with the program. As things stand, however, the program is performing significantly worse than experts had originally predicted. Dispensary owners say they need to serve between 20,000 and 30,000 patients within the next few months in order to stabilize.

“If this is the trend, with one to three patients a day, we’ll go out of business,” said Joseph Friedman, co-owner of a dispensary in Buffalo Grove.

Most argue that the reason the program is doing so poorly is because there are too many restrictions on medical qualifying conditions.

“There’s numerous, numerous people in need being denied entry into the program for which they are entitled,” said Teddy Scott, CEO of PharmaCannis, which owns four of the state’s 22 licensed dispensaries.

The biggest issue? In Illinois, insomnia and chronic pain do not qualify a person for medical cannabis, though they would in most other states with legalized medical marijuana. In Arizona, for example, chronic pain accounts for 72 percent of medical marijuana patients. In Colorado, the percentage is even greater.

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