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Illinois to Begin Sales of Medical Marijuana Monday

Illinois announced Friday that sales of medical marijuana will be begin Monday at eight dispensaries located across the state.  More than 3,000 patients with Illinois-issued ID cards will be able to buy medical marijuana legally for the first time according to the state officials overseeing the pilot program.

Eight licensed dispensaries are authorized to start selling cannabis, program director Joseph Wright, said that as many as seven more dispensaries are expected to be registered by the end of this month, with a total of 25 possible by the end of the year.

The dispensaries that will open November 9 are in Marion, Mundelein, Canton, Quincy, Addison, Aurora, Schaumburg, and Ottawa Counties.

About 3,300 Illinois residents have a medical condition which qualifies for treatment with cannabis, according to the state.  “Qualifying patients and caregivers may visit any registered dispensary in the State, but must designate a single dispensary with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in order to make a medical cannabis purchase,” the state website said.

Growers, who have been waiting two years for the official green light to ship their products to dispensaries in the state, received an Illinois Department of Agriculture letter late Thursday explaining how marijuana can be transported. Illinois medical cannabis program director Joseph Wright confirmed on Friday.

  • Marijuana can be transported only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., according to the official instructions.
  • Vehicles carrying it must be staffed by at least two cultivation center employees.
  • A statewide digital tracking system has been launched to prevent any diversion of marijuana to the black market.

“It’s a safe industry with a strong infrastructure here in Illinois,” said Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries, which has started shipping marijuana from its Rock Island cultivation facility to its dispensary in Mundelein and other retail shops. “We’re all in touch with local police. There will be no surprises.”

Patients are cautioned that they must have their ID card and have designated a dispensary with the Illinois Department of Public Health before they can make a purchase. “I’d hate for somebody to drive and learn that at the end of the drive,” Kovler said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health started mailing patients their official program ID cards last week.

Illinois is among 23 states with medical marijuana programs.

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