Illinois Medical Cannabis Community is a great resource

Are you a resident of Illinois who has been “sitting on the fence” about applying for a medical marijuana card because you don’t know where to begin?

FB_IMG_1440795635716Have I got a great Facebook group for you to join…The Illinois Medical Cannabis Community (IMCC). With over 1,800 members from all walks of life including patients, advocates, dispensary and cultivation owners, cannabis oil producers and concerned citizens, there is so much great information on this site that you will wonder why you were hesitant about “taking the plunge!”

Abraham Villegas founded the group in July, 2015. IMCC is one of the fastest growing FB sites, with good reason. It is a very active site with multiple daily posts about all things cannabis related. If you have a question, you can be guaranteed that you will have an answer within minutes.

Deconstructing Medical Marijuana

Deconstructing Medical Marijuana

So, what exactly is the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP)? Officially, the program started in January, 2014, and will last for 4 years until December, 2017, at which point, its success will be evaluated and a determination will be made whether or not to continue it. Except that since the program still isn’t up and running, Representative Lou Lang sponsored a bill to extend it another 18 months…YAY!…and we got 4 months…BOO! And because we are Illinois and special, we have some of the most stringent medical cannabis laws in the country…we are the only state where patients are required to be fingerprinted. Ho hum! Here is a link to everything you need to know about becoming a patient.

The bad news is that as of this writing, almost 2 years later, no medicine has been sold. The good news is that dispensaries are getting ready to open their doors and the first cannabis plants will be ready for distribution in September. In the past week, there have been a steady stream of postings for cannabis job opportunities throughout the state for both the cultivation centers and dispensaries. Advocacy groups are in full swing to educate consumers about which conditions qualify and how cannabis works to relieve the symptoms of 30 different conditions/diseases. Click this link to get a listing of the conditions. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended 11 more conditions to be added to the list. Click this link for those.

Now, if Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health would “get his thumb out” and approve them and then Governor Rauner signed them into law, that would be really great because I have some friends that have been waiting for 180 days for this to happen and that is just not fair. Sheesh, it’s like getting my teenage son to do anything in a timely manner!

Here is the link to the application for a medical marijuana card.

Unfortunately for the residents of our great state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) really dropped the ball when it came time to disseminate information about the MCPP. They were supposed to have a comprehensive website, a Twitter account and a Facebook page with all the information necessary to help patients navigate the process. Nothing, niente, nada.

So, the IMCC stepped in and stepped up to provide the information that the IDPH failed to supply. Here’s what they do…

1. Help you find a doctor who is willing to write a recommendation for medical marijuana which can be difficult in Illinois.

2. Help you fill out the application, find a fingerprinting facility and find a dispensary.

3. Educate the public about the science behind how cannabis works, how the research substantiates its efficacy, which conditions are covered in Illinois, laws regarding cultivation of cannabis in the state, different methods in which to administer the medicine, guidelines for caregivers of patients.

4. Job opportunities in the cannabis industry.

5. The laws governing the Illinois MCCP.

6. Just about any question you could think to ask about cannabis.

There are lively threads about anything and everything that has to do with cannabis. Come and join us…don’t be shy. No question is considered stupid. People truly want to help. I know because I am a member. Here’s how…https://www.facebook.com/groups/Illinoisdispensaries/

I would love to hear from readers who have successfully signed up and from those who have had problems.

I’ve written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the “Medical Marijuana” tag at the top of my page.

If you want to get more involved in helping Illinois move forward…and boy, do we need help, here…there are resources and links to groups on the Americans for Safe Acess-Illinois page that are doing just that. Americans for Safe Access is a national program, so if you are not an Illinoisian, check out a chapter in your state.

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/join_asa?recruiter_id=1872

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