Dozens of businesspeople and patients lined up in Chicago today to ask questions about growing, selling and using medical marijuana in Illinois, covering topics ranging from highly technical to constitutional.
So many people signed up to ask questions at a town hall meeting hosted by state officials at Northeastern Illinois University, one attendee quipped that he thought they must be dispensing the drug today.
Many of the questions were posed by businesspeople — or their lawyers — seeking clarification on the application process for receiving licenses for cultivation centers and dispensaries.
Few of the commenters expressed criticism of the way medical marijuana is being rolled out in Illinois, though one person received a round of applause after taking issues with the fact that the state will require those applying to use the drug to submit their fingerprints to state authorities.
State officials also clarified that those who dispense the drug will have to rely largely on written descriptions of their products, because packaging must be sealed, photographs of the product will not be allowed and any samples opened must be disposed.
Not every aspect of the business will be regulated or spelled out in the application process, though.
“What we are looking for is the best plan you can give us,” Ray Watson, general counsel for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, told entrepreneurs. “We did not want to restrain the creativity of the industry.”
Illinois will certify private laboratories to test medical marijuana, officials said, along with a state lab to verify that package descriptions match the contents for strain and strength.
Patient and business applications will be taken starting in September, but medical marijuana is not expected to be available until spring.
Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune
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