1/23/14 | by Chris Eger
Hopeful participants in the new medical marijuana program in Illinois may have a hard decision to make between their treatment and their Second Amendment rights.
If the proposed set of rules for the program is enacted by the Legislature, patients and their caregivers will have to surrender their firearms to comply with the state’s law.
The Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) is a program run by the Illinois Department of Public Health in which qualified individuals can receive medical marijuana for therapy.
Under the guidelines published yesterday, the experimental program, which is scheduled to run until Jan. 1, 2018, is very tightly regulated.
Signed into law this month, it will be one of the most heavily regulated programs among the 21 states that currently allow use of the drug. Eligible patients with one of no fewer than 35 qualifying medical conditions can seek treatment from a limited number of licensed dispensaries who in turn will draw from a certified cultivation centers.
To receive a card for the program candidates will have to pay $150 fee and be subject to a background check from the state police. Patients will be limited to 2.5 ounces of cannabis every two weeks. A special 7 percent tax will be added to each purchase to pay for the program’s enforcement.
In a recent poll, some 76 percent of doctors approved of the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions.
One of the harshest requirements is that neither program participants nor their caregivers will be allowed to possess a legal firearm. Even if they previously had a gun and valid FOID card or concealed carry permit in the state, it would be a violation of federal law for program participants to retain a firearm.