Lawmakers in Illinois have passed legislation to remove the requirement for background checks and fingerprinting to obtain a medical marijuana card. That legislation also includes allowing the use of medical marijuana instead of pain medication. The patients would be able to obtain a recommendation from their doctors.
This bill also makes the approval process faster for those taking prescription painkillers, the Chicago Tribune reports. The current approval process can take as long as four months. Those with prior convictions would also no longer be restricted from obtaining a medical marijuana card.
Governor Rauner hasn’t indicated whether he will sign the bill or not. He’s previously opposed expanding the state’s medical marijuana program.
The bill had bipartisan support and was sponsored by Senator Don Harmon. Several patients testified who have had success with using marijuana instead of opioids to treat their pain. Some reported completely stopping the use of opioids.
Harmon said, “The only two things I know for certain is, opioids kill people, and marijuana does not.”
A positive for the bill is the Department of Public Health’s support of ending required background checks for medical marijuana cardholders. Officials in Rauner’s office have also been cooperative in the legislation, so some speculate that this could signify the governor being more open to change.
In other Illinois industry news, the General Assembly also passed legislation to allow the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp. It is also headed to Governor Rauner’s desk.