Illinois is the perfect example of problems in the marijuana industry. It has been nearly 18 months since the former governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, legalized medical marijuana. During those 18 months, not a single patient has received it. Many Illinois residents hoped that the former governor would fix this problem prior to leaving office, but he did not. His term ended on Monday, January 12, 2014, and the new governor will most likely destroy all the progress that has been made.
650 residents of Illinois are approved to buy medical marijuana. The doctors for these 650 people convinced the state that, for these patients, cannabis is a medicine. These patients are suffering from one of 34 debilitating medical conditions, ranging from glaucoma to HIV, and they need help.
The state of Illinois is one of a kind. They are not like the other states that had legitimate issues with medical marijuana, it’s neither the list of covered conditions, nor a lack of physicians holding the program back. It is the lack of cannabis that is causing the problem. There is not one dispensary in Illinois that has made it through the bureaucratic hurdles needed to win approval for growing marijuana.
Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), says it’s unclear why no dispensaries have won approval to grow. “There isn’t really a solid definitive answer,” he says.
“People are definitely frustrated, the patients are really upset that they are waiting,” says Linn. On top of patients, business owners are now paying for facilities that they are unable to use. “They’re losing money every day,” says Linn.