Physicians Prepare Illinois Cannabis Law – Understand The Law

Final regulations for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program do not appear in today’s Illinois Register. Publication in the Register is necessary for the regulations to take effect. Applications for dispensary and cultivation center permits have not been published yet either.

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If newspaper articles are an indicator of prospective applicants’ attitudes, then I infer many of them may be relieved that a week has passed without the applications being published. Newspaper articles from all over the state demonstrate that many cities, villages, and counties all over the state are only now thinking about cannabis medicine and what they can do to attract or deter a permit applicant in their community. Depending on the unique attributes of the municipal body and the territory in its jurisdiction, in some cases it is necessary to conduct formal procedures to adjust the zoning map or issue a special use permit. These things take time.

This week saw relevant news in Urbana (ISP District 10), Roseville (ISP District 14), Aurora (ISP District 2 and ISP District 5), Macomb (ISP District 14), Spring Valley (ISP District 17), Galesburg (ISP District 7), Naperville (ISP District 2 and ISP District 5), Stephenson County (ISP District 16), and Elgin (ISP District 2 and ISP District Chicago/Cook County).

Many people have opinions about when the agencies plan to publish applications. But theoretically it should not be possible to know what the agencies are thinking because law and regulations prohibit administrative agencies from engaging in ex parte communications with members of the public. Nonetheless it is apparent that many prospective applicants have hired lobbyists or otherwise purport to know when applications will be published. Everyone claims to know with certainty, yet no one has quite the same projection. Some say any day now; some say not until November.

My humble opinion is that so far the agencies have done a good job of proceeding at a reasonable and predictable pace. It doesn’t seem like external factors should influence the agencies to delay publication of applications any later than they believe necessary to fulfill their legal duties. To that end, I note that the Agriculture Department’s regulations as certified by JCAR narrow the application window for cultivation centers from 30 days to 15 days as evidence that they may wish to move briskly.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press wrote a great article this week exploring how physicians, health care facilities, and other medical professionals are adapting their policies to fit evolving cannabis laws and research. The article surveys reactions from some of the state’s most influential health care organizations, including the Illinois State Medical Society, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Health Care Council of Illinois, the Illinois Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the Illinois Hospital Association.

And there was an interesting article in Crain’s Chicago Business this week concerning a model of financing that some applicants may pursue. The article focuses on Prairie Wellness Fund Ltd.