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WJBD - Local News - Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Ban Firearms for Cannabis Users, Implements Fee Structure

A flowering Cannabis plant. The State of Illinois Legalized the use of Medical Cannabis last year. Photo by Wikipedia User 'Cannatraining'. Used with permission.

Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules Ban Firearms for Cannabis Users, Implements Fee Structure

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

The State of Illinois' Medical Cannabis Pilot Program officially became law on January 1st of this year, and the first draft of the proposed rules has been made public this week. The rules, drafted by the Illinois Department of Public Health in conjunction with several other state groups, govern how obtaining and using Medical Marijuana will work in the State of Illinois. 

The draft released yesterday by the Illinois Department of Public Health includes several controversial measures that have already received scrutiny from pro-medical cannabis groups. One such measure appears to ban anyone who obtains a Medical Cannabis registry card from also holding a Firearms Owners Identification Card or Concealed Carry Permit, effectively barring anyone who wants to utilize medical cannabis from owning a firearm.

Ali Nagib is the assistant director for the Illinois branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, and he doesn't believe patients should have to trade their second amendment rights to use medical cannabis.

"We don't think patients should have to give up their rights, regardless of what people think about gun laws." Nagib said, "The federal government, particularly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, has issued some memorandums that basically say that medical patients, by federal law, cannot have [firearms] licenses."

Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson with the Illinois Department of Public Health says that that particular section of the draft was written with help from the Illinois State Police. Calls to the Illinois State Police were not immediately returned. 

The regulations specified in the draft also include a $150 application fee for any patient who wants to obtain medical cannabis and a $125 fee for caregivers. A full background check will be conducted on every applicant, automatically disqualifying applicants with previous controlled substances felony convictions on their record. Paraphernalia used for consuming cannabis as well as the cannabis itself will have to be obtained from a state dispensary, which will receive the cannabis from one of the 22 certified growing operations in the state.

A handful of medical conditions will be eligible to be treated with medical cannabis, including HIV/AIDS, Crohns Disease, Cancer, Glaucoma, Tourettes, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer's, Traumatic Brain Injury and post-concussion syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's Disease along with several others.

The drafted rules are not final and are open to public comment. If you wish to file a comment, visit the program's website at mcpp.illinois.gov.

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