Illinois health officials are planning two public hearings on proposed rules affecting patients who want to use medical marijuana.
The state's medical marijuana program is a four-year pilot project. The rules under consideration affect how adult patients with specific health conditions will be able to buy marijuana.
Hearings will be held in Chicago and Springfield. The Chicago hearing will be at the Thompson Center starting at 9:30 a.m. May 5. The Springfield hearing will be on the University of Illinois Springfield campus at 9 a.m. May 21.
The proposed rules were published in the Illinois Register on April 18. That marked the start of a formal rulemaking process and a public comment period. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules begins its review in early June.
Last year, Illinois approved medical use of marijuana after years of debating the issue. The state could be closer to following the lead of some other states that have given the ok to recreational use.
Americans in 20 states, including Illinois once its new medicinal cannabis pilot program is fully functioning, can purchase medical marijuana to treat symptoms of diseases ranging from multiple sclerosis to glaucoma to HIV and AIDs, but the science behind why medical marijuana helps ease symptoms of some of those diseases is hazy. Because marijuana is a classified as a schedule 1 drug by the federal government, a category for drugs with no medical value and highly addictive properties, researchers have a very difficult time gaining access to marijuana plants in order to study them.