The youth of Illinois may be prohibited from smoking weed, but once the state’s medical marijuana program goes into effect at the beginning of the year, children will be allowed to consume cannabis orally, according to emergency regulations published earlier this week by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Despite some controversy, Illinois state medical marijuana regulators will allow children under the age of 18 to have access to edible forms of cannabis, as long as they have permission from a parent or guardian, a prescription from a primary care physician, and the recommendation of a secondary doctor. This means kids in the Land of Lincoln who are suffering from debilitating conditions, such as epilepsy and muscular dystrophy, will be permitted to consume THC-infused foods, candies and liquids, but not smoke raw cannabis like adults.
While the rules may seen like a fair trade in order to ensure sick kids are provided with effective medicine, some physicians still remain apprehensive about treating adult patients with cannabis, much less children, which could make obtaining medical marijuana exceptionally difficult. Dan Linn, executive director of Illinois NORML, recently told The Associated Press that forcing children to provide two doctor recommendations was “an unneeded burden standing between these patients and the medicine they need.”
A recent report from The Chicago Tribune indicates that, unlike adults, children will not be forced to submit fingerprints before they are granted permission to use medical marijuana. However, the state is requiring patients under the age of 18 to present photographs. Underage patients will also pay a $100 annual fee to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program, which is a few bucks cheaper than it is for adult patients, who are also required to pay a $25 caregiver fee.
The regulations also require a medical marijuana advisory board, which has not yet been appointed, to include at least one parent of a patient under the age of 18. Some believe this will keep the medical marijuana program operating in the best interest of underage patients.
Although state officials said they would reveal the recipients of the 21 permits for cultivation centers and 60 permits for dispensaries before the end of the year, that announcement has not yet been made. There is speculation, however, the prevailing businesses will be published sometime later next week.