Illinois prepares to fully legalize pot

The measure, which took effect Friday, gives access to Illinoisans diagnosed with chronic pain, anorexia nervosa, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence syndrome. Additionally, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants can now certify prospective patients for the program, as opposed to only doctors.

“As we continue to reform state government so that it better serves its families, we must do so in a way that advances dignity, empathy, opportunity and grace,” said Pritzker.

The protections for schoolchildren bolster a law approved last year that was named for 13-year-old Ashley Surin, who uses cannabis to treat epileptic seizures related to a leukemia diagnosis.

The Pritzker-backed recreational pot law, which legalizes the drug Jan. 1 for all adults over 21, also includes protections for medical patients, requiring dual use dispensaries to keep a stockpile of medical marijuana and prioritize sales to medical patients in the case of a supply shortage. A February study commissioned by lawmakers and conducted by the Colorado consulting firm Freedman & Koski warned that Illinois’ 20 licensed cultivations centers couldn’t meet the state’s demand for recreational pot.