The need for a statewide medical-marijuana program won’t go away if the Illinois General Assembly and Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker approve recreational use of cannabis in 2019, advocates of marijuana legalization say.
Those crafting legislation to allow production and sales of recreational marijuana plan to include provisions ensuring that patients in the medical pilot program have an adequate selection of products specifically geared for medical use, according to state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago.
It’s unknown how the startup of a recreational marijuana market in Illinois will affect enrollment in the state’s highly regulated medical-marijuana program, said Steans, a leader in the push to make recreational use legal.
But supporters of recreational use don’t want to put medical-marijuana patients in a bind, she said.
“We are going to touch the medical program as little as possible,” Steans told The State Journal-Register last week.
Advocates expect recreational sales to quickly overtake medical sales. But they say people in the medical program likely would pay less for cannabis products because excise taxes on recreational products are expected to be significantly higher than for medical-marijuana products.
“We haven’t seen huge drop-offs right in the beginning,” said Karmen Hanson, a Denver-based cannabis policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. [Read More @ The State Journal Register
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