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New Illinois Bill Puts Medical Marijuana Supply Before Recreational

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Illinois’ recreational marijuana law has provisions included to put medical marijuana patients before recreational marijuana customers if shortages occur. It has been an issue in other states that have legalized recreational use. Once dispensaries start recreational sales, the demand increases significantly.

Governor Pritzker hasn’t signed a bill increasing the state’s medical marijuana qualifying conditions yet, according to The Chicago Tribune. But new conditions have been approved for medical marijuana access including anorexia nervosa, autism and chronic pain. This will also increase the state’s medical marijuana patient numbers.

It is expected, as it has happened in nearly all other recreationally legal states, that enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program will decrease. Some medical marijuana patients just don’t see the value in keeping up with holding a medical marijuana card with recreational sales being legal since there is no separation of product in either market. In some cases, medical marijuana patients can’t get the products they’ve been buying because recreational users are buying those same products.

Representative Bob Morgan said, “A number of states have had shortages. There was a real recognition that this needs to be slowly expanding — businesses, licenses, cultivators. As we ramp up to Jan. 1, 2020, there is a very real possibility of a shortage.”

Illinois has just over 70,000 medical marijuana patients and wants to ensure that their medical marijuana program remains stable, giving priority to medical patients over recreational users.

Medical marijuana dispensaries will be required to maintain “an adequate supply of cannabis and cannabis-infused products for purchase by qualifying patients and caregivers.”

When the state says adequate supply, it is referring to maintaining the average monthly inventory for 6 months ahead of the January 1, 2020 date when recreational marijuana becomes legal. Dispensaries that have a dual license will be required to cater to their medical patients first.