A group of medical marijuana supporters will hold a cannabis conference in Chicago this June. This comes at a time when the state is finalizing its four-year medical marijuana pilot program.
The group, which is composed of a consultant, a doctor and a nonprofit executive, intend to use the conference to create awareness of the medical benefits of the drug and boost its image so as to influence the expansion of the duration and scope of the pilot program.
“Don’t be shy. It’s OK to talk about marijuana — cannabis,” Amish Parikh, vice president of My Compassion, a Michigan-based nonprofit that convenes the June 7-8 conference at Navy Pier, told the Chicago Tribune. “If you respect the law, the law will stay. We’re trying to teach that as well.”
The Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Act became valid in January. However, patients are yet to begin using the drug, with Illinois Department of Public Health saying it hopes the program will be running by the start of 2015.
The pilot program permits 21 marijuana grow centres in Illinois, while the law allows patients to collect the drug from 60 stores across the state, and gives doctors the liberty to prescribe the drug for about 40 medical ailments.
Some quarters consider Illinois medical marijuana regulations as far stricter than in other US states where the drug is legal such as California.
“Illinois does not want to follow the lead of California because California has the reputation that it’s free — anybody can get a card, become a patient and go to the next corner to buy cannabis,” said Patty Schuler, a mother of an epileptic daughter. “It wants to stay within the boundaries of the law and wants to make sure that doctors are actually doing the work, making recommendations for patients and following up with that patient.”
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To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at firstname.lastname@example.org