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Illinois MMJ Program Shows Promise in Year 1

In the first year of medicinal cannabis sales in Illinois, there have been no serious problems or complications with the program, and not a single patient registered with the program has had their driver license revoked for diverting the drug, the Chicago Tribune reports.

And while calls to the Illinois Poison Control Center for cannabis exposure are up — from 13 children last year to 21 this year and from zero to two adults — the number is dwarfed by the 74,000 calls annually to the center for mostly prescription drugs. Carol Des Lauriers, director of the Poison Control Center, said it was not clear whether the marijuana calls were related to medical cannabis, but indicated that all of the patients recovered.

Presently, the program has about 12,000 enrollees who have spent about $28 million. Illinois courts have ordered the Department of Health to add seven qualifying conditions, ranging from migraine headaches to intractable pain, which would allow for more patients to access the program; however, Attorney General Lisa Madigan is appealing those decisions.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Dan Linn, Illinois NORML executive director, said in the report. “Obviously, we’d like to see more conditions added.”

Over the summer, Gov. Bruce Rauner extended the pilot program until mid-2020, and added post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the qualifying condition list.

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