medical marijuana

A spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner says the Illinois medical marijuana program's director has resigned.

Spokeswoman Catherine Kelly tells The Associated Press the administration has accepted the resignation of Joseph Wright, who was in the position for just over one year. She says the governor's office "will have no further comment."

Wright will be replaced by Jack Campbell, the program's bureau chief in the Department of Agriculture.

Medical marijuana retail shops in Illinois saw a slight increase in sales in May compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says registered dispensaries sold nearly $2.3 million worth of marijuana in May to more than 5,100 patients. April sales were $2.2 million.

May's figures bring the total retail sales of marijuana in Illinois to $10.8 million since purchasing began Nov. 9, topping the $10 million mark for the first time.

Illinois now has 37 registered dispensaries and about 7,000 qualified patients.

The Illinois House has approved a plan to expand the state's medical marijuana pilot program by two-and-a-half years and add post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the list of allowed conditions.

Lawmakers voted 86-27 on Monday to advance the measure, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner supports.

It now goes to the Senate, where it's expected to pass.

Illinois' four-year pilot program is set to sunset at the end of 2017. Under the bill, it will continue to July 1, 2020.

Where Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Program Stands

May 27, 2016

Illinois’ medical marijuana program is just getting started.  The first stores opened last fall and some 6,000 people are now approved to buy cannabis through the pilot program. That number is much smaller than what many advocates say is needed to create a viable business.  There are a number of factors behind the slower-than-expected rollout of a pilot program scheduled to expire in January 2018.

Illinois patients who want to use medical marijuana legally will try again to expand the program to include chronic pain, diabetes, migraine and other health conditions.

Monday's meeting of the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could lead to new recommendations, but Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has twice before rejected the board's suggestions.

WUIS

  Republican Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon told a House committee Monday that he wants to warn users of serious potential side effect such as hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking.

Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program was sponsored by Democrat Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. Lang says he'd rather wait until the pilot program ends in 20-17 rather than pass piecemeal legislation.

"There may be an opportunity in the future to work on something like this. I just think it's ill-timed," he says.

Retail sales of medical marijuana in Illinois increased by roughly 30 percent in March compared to the previous month.

Program director Joseph Wright says the state's registered dispensaries sold $1.9 million worth of marijuana in March to more than 4,700 patients. It was the best month yet in sales for the program.

Illinois now has 32 registered dispensaries where qualified patients can buy the drug. Three new dispensaries registered in March.

Wright says approximately 5,500 patients now qualify for the program.

Illinois medical marijuana shops had their best month yet in February with nearly $1.5 million in sales, bringing total retail sales to more than $4.4 million since the program began Nov. 9.

Program director Joseph Wright announced Tuesday that registered dispensaries served 3,042 unique patients during February. Two new dispensaries joined the program last month, raising the total to 29 shops as of Monday.

Wright says approximately 4,800 Illinois patients now qualify for the program.

Illinois advocates are pushing to add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the conditions eligible for medical marijuana.

Lon Hodge is a Vietnam veteran. He suffers from PTSD and experiences panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. He says marijuana helps him cope with those symptoms.

Illinois currently has a pilot medical marijuana program.

But Hodge can't use pot legally in the state because PTSD is not on the list of illnesses covered under the program.

flickr/dankdepot

The nascent medical marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow start, with fewer than 4,000 approved patients.That hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight the drug. The Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 former law-enforcement or legal officials involved in the business, from one-time undercover narcotics officers to an ex-Secret Service senior executive. Industry officials in Illinois and beyond say the state is unusual in the degree to which former law enforcement officers

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