With the passage of HB1 earlier this month, key stakeholders will meet this Thursday to discuss next steps

Chicago, IL -- Medical marijuana advocates will hold a 4-hour conference this Thursday from 1pm-5pm to discuss implementation of HB1, the Illinois medical marijuana law that was signed by Governor Quinn earlier this month. Thursday's conference is being sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and will not only review aspects of the new law, including the rights and responsibilities it establishes, but also bring together patients, caregivers, cultivators, lab experts, dispensary operators, and their workers in order to ensure that law will protect and benefit Illinois patients. The conference is free and open to the public. 


What: Illinois conference on implementation of medical marijuana law
When: Thursday, August 22nd from 1pm-5pm
Where: UFCW Local 881 Headquarters: 10400 W. Higgins Road, Suite 500, Rosemont, IL 60018 (near O'Hare airport)

HB1, or the Illinois "Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program" Act, creates a framework to protect physicians and certain qualified medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. HB1, which was passed by the Illinois House in April, and the Senate in May, was called one of the most restrictive laws in the country by its Senate sponsor Bill Haine (D-Alton). The new law is set to take effect on January 1, 2014, but is also scheduled to sunset in four years.

HB1 allows patients with one of 33 "debilitating medical conditions," such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV to obtain approval from a physician to use medical marijuana. The law entitles qualifying patients to possess 2.5 ounces for a 2-week period. Patients will not be able to cultivate the marijuana themselves, contrary to most state laws, but they will eventually be able to obtain it from one of the state's 60 "registered dispensing organizations," which will be supplied by 22 "licensed cultivation centers." HB1 also taxes the sale of medical marijuana at 7 percent.

"Passing a law is just the first step in ensuring safe and legal access in a state," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, who will be presenting information at Thursday's conference. "This conference is designed to bring together stakeholders in order to ensure the law is implemented with patients needs in mind," continued Sherer. "It's important to learn from and avoid the pitfalls in other medical marijuana states that has resulted in sluggish and misguided implementation."

Further information:
HB1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/98/HB/PDF/09800HB0001eng.pdf