1855 Rohlwing Road, Suite D,
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

Call Us Today for a FREE Initial Consultation


Medical Marijuana Debuts in Illinois

Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer

Seven medical marijuana dispensaries are now open for business in Illinois, despite the long wait from the legal authorization these dispensaries received back in 2013. Back in June, we told you about the background of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, but things have changed now that the first dispensaries have now opened. In addition to the seven dispensaries, four cultivation centers are also opened, although 60 dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers were authorized. Though off to a slow start, the grand openings were successful and will continue to serve the roughly 3,300 patients authorized to purchase cannabis in Illinois for medical reasons. If you are one of the thousands of eligible patients in Illinois and have questions about your rights under this new law or are currently facing criminal drug penalties, reach out to an experienced Illinois drug crime defense attorney today.

Illinois Medical Marijuana

Under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (hereinafter the "Act"), pre-qualified individuals may obtain an identification card from the Illinois Department of Public Health that will authorize them to purchase limited quantities of medical marijuana at pre-approved dispensaries.

Though medical marijuana is available to treat a variety of medical conditions, some of the most common include:

  • Cancer;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Alzheimer's;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Spinal cord injury;
  • Lupus;
  • Seizures; and
  • Traumatic brain injury.

A patient that has been diagnosed with any of these conditions (or any of the other nearly 40 qualifying medical conditions enumerated in the Act) may go to a physician that can certify that the individual has a debilitating medical condition. Once this certification is obtained, the fees are paid, and the necessary background checks are successfully accomplished, the Department of Public Health will issue an identification card once all other technical requirements are met (see Sec. 55(a) of the Act). Previous criminal convictions (particularly those involving substance abuse), mistakes in database entry, and age restrictions may prevent from otherwise eligible individuals from participating in the program as well.

Certain Criminal and Civil Penalties Remain Intact

Despite the legality of medical marijuana in Illinois, the Act enumerates many public locations that medical marijuana cannot be possessed or used. It also specifies that a person may be found guilty or liable of any relevant criminal or civil penalties of "using or possessing cannabis if that person does not have a debilitating medical condition" or "operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while using or under the influence of cannabis." These provisions make it clear that people caught misusing or using marijuana when not authorized can still face trouble with the law. This may include possessing an amount of marijuana greater than that permissible by law, sharing with individuals that do not have a debilitating medical condition with a valid permit under the law, or using marijuana in any one of the prohibited locales.


Note also that individual private employers reserve the right under the Act to adopt regulations that may be in conflict with this new law. Zero tolerance policies regarding even medical use marijuana and drug testing are still permissible. This means that your employer may have different rules than the Act provides for. It is, therefore, critical to check with the rules governing your employment before engaging in medical marijuana use, even if you have a valid state-issued identification card to do so.

Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys

As with any new law, it will take time to work out the kinks and caveats. If you have lawfully exercised your right to obtain medical marijuana and are facing criminal penalties, it is critical to contact a reputable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley today. We will work hard to preserve your right to possess the marijuana that will assist you in coping with your debilitating medical condition. Also, if you have been denied an identification card that you believe you are entitled to, you may have legal recourse as well. Regardless of whether you are looking into applying for a medical marijuana card or if you have one and have questions about your legal rights and responsibilities under the Act, contact our Rolling Meadows law office at 847-253-3100 to speak to a qualified attorney today.

Back to Top