Illinois residents who have been prescribed opioids will now be eligible for a temporary certification for medical cannabis. The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was approved via the Alternative to Opioids Act by lawmakers last year by a sweeping 44-6 majority in the state senate, but lagged in implementation due to “a heavy IT lift” required to get the new system’s tech needs met.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to stop this vicious epidemic,” said Governor Bruce Rauner upon signing the bill into effect back in August. “We are creating an alternative to opioid addiction … It’s clear that medical marijuana treats pain effectively, and is less addictive and disruptive than opioids.”
The Act was sponsored by Illinois Senator Don Harmon and Representative Kelly Cassidy. At the time of the bill’s introduction, Harmon commented that he knew of many people who had died from opioid abuse, but no one who had managed to pass away from taking too much cannabis.
Patients in the program will be able to forgo the background and fingerprint check required of Illinois’ other medical marijuana patients. They will need to get an Illinois Cannabis Tracking System certification from their prescribing doctor, then make an