ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Alternatives to Opioids Act Tuesday. The new bill will add people seeking opioids for pain management to the list of those eligible for medical marijuana.
This comes after the Illinois Department of Public Health reports opioid deaths in Illinois increased 12% from 2016 – 2017. Rauner says the new law will give thousands of Illinoisans who struggle with the negative side effects of opioids another choice to manage pain.
IDPH says the pilot program will not compromise patient safety or diminish medical marijuana program standards. Licensed physicians must certify an individual has a medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed.
Participants must register at a licensed dispensary and the program is limited to individuals 21 and older. Dispensations are limited to 2.5 ounces every 14 days and cannot exceed 90 days per physician certification.
The Alternatives to Opioids Act of 2018 also allows those applying for a medical cannabis registry card for one of the qualified conditions to access medical cannabis while the application is being reviewed.