Policy Recommendations Illinois

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Illinois

The most significant 2019 cannabis policy reforms were focused on establishing an adult-use commercial cannabis marketplace that opened in January 2020. Some patient-focused reforms to the state's medical program were also adopted, including making the state's medical cannabis access program permanent, initially authorized as a pilot in 2014, as well as the addition of 11 new qualifying conditions, including chronic pain. The state also passed Ashley's Law, which allows students to use medical cannabis under the supervision of certain school personnel while on school property.

Included in legislation authorizing commercial adult-use cannabis business licensing are provisions requiring existing medically licensed stores to maintain an adequate supply of cannabis and cannabis products for patients. ASA was pleased to see this provision included, as too often states fail to ensure the functionality of existing medical access systems and patient access prior to shifting focus to adult-use.

Under COVID emergency rules Illinois declared medical cannabis dispensaries essential, authorized curbside pickup and permitted patients to utilize telehealth screenings for program eligibility determinations rather than in-person visits with physicians.

ASA applauds the state for mandating geographic distribution of the original 55 medical cannabis facilities and hopes to see patient access expanded through the licensing of additional retail storefront in 2020. ASA also recommends reforming requirements for retail storefronts to maintain an ongoing and adequate supply of specific products to respond to frustration raised by patients over the inconsistency of product availability.