On Wednesday night around 100 industry professionals gathered at the Blackstone Hotel. They heard from 2 prominent state employees intimately involved in the rollout of the state’s medical marijuana program. Robert Morgan from the Department of Public Health and Bridget Carlson from the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation gave short statements before answering several questions from those in attendance.
The biggest news announcement of the day was that IL Senate Bill #2636 (SB2636) passed the Senate and has made it’s way to the house in Springfield. SB2636 will add myoclonic-astatic epilepsy (Doose Syndrome) to the list of debilitating medical conditions. It also aims to set rules for the issuance of a registry identification card for qualifying patients who are under 18 years of age that are suffering from Doose Syndrome.
Robert briefly covered the progress that has been made since last August. He also stressed to those who are frustrated with the speed of the rulemaking process, to keep in mind that this is only a 4-year pilot program and the expiration date of 12/31/2017 is very real. He reminded everyone that they only have one shot to get this right. They have to be quick, but they also have to be cautious and diligent.
Questions regarding the application process were plentiful. There were also questions raised about political fairness and transparency in a city that has been historically just the opposite. Both Bridget and Robert were quick to explain that their jobs were on the line. Also that they both are doing their best to keep outside influences away from the decision making process. Bridget also offered some comments about how she expects the application process to be assessed. In her opinion, their main focus will be three areas. The first is how applicants present their information. The second, their plan to best serve patients in Illinois. Third, the individuals that are involved with the group. Solid record keeping and security programs will also be of utmost importance.
The state estimates they will see tens of thousands of patient applications within the first year. They expect this once the rules and regulations are adopted and published. The NCIA will host a two-day national event in Denver, Colorado starting on June 4. Quantum 9’s own Ed Rosenthal, Master Gardener Level III, will be a featured speaker there, along with many other industry experts.