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Illinois residents who have been prescribed opioids will now be eligible for a temporary certification for medical cannabis following legal approval of The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to stop this vicious epidemic. We are creating an alternative to opioid addiction … It’s clear that medical cannabis treats pain effectively, and is less addictive and disruptive than opioids,” said Governor Bruce Rauner.

Patients in the program will be able to forgo the background and fingerprint check required of Illinois’’ other medical cannabis patients. They will need to get an Illinois Cannabis Tracking System certification from their prescribing doctor and make an online account to access medical cannabis for 90 days. The program has a registration fee of $10, and will allow patients access to 2.5 ounces of cannabis (maximum) every two weeks.

At the end of the 90-day period, they’ll have to go back to their doctor to get recertified with their eligibility dependent on their medical condition.

In 2016, 2,000 people died from narcotics overdose in Illinois, which constitutes an 82% increase since 2013. Nationwide, 72,000 people perished in the United States from similar prescription drug abuse in 2017. Research suggests the implementation of medical cannabis programs could decrease the number of fatalities from pain medication overdose and abuse.

Illinois legalized medical cannabis with the Compassionate Use of Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Program in 2013. By 2018, 34,000 patients have been approved from medical cannabis.

Source: https://hightimes.com/news/illinois-patients-may-now-replace-their-opioids-with-medical-marijuana/

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