'Illinois residents will now be able to seek out medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid painkillers through a new program allowing patients with prescriptions for opioids to instead opt for temporary access to the plant.
The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program was approved by the state legislature in an overwhelming vote last year of 44-6 by lawmakers hoping to curb a deadly epidemic of overdoses that claim over 100 lives per day.
In a statement, Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said:
Along with the physician certification, a passport-like photo, copy of driver’s license/state ID, proof of Illinois address, and $10 payment is required … The OAPP offers individuals who have been or could be prescribed an opioid, another option for managing their pain.
Under the program, anyone qualifying for a prescription for common opioids like Vicodin, OxyContin, or Percocet will be authorized to use cannabis, be it in its dry herbal form or in its myriad derivatives such as waxes, oils, or medicated food products.
The measure removes a number of burdens related to the state’s medical marijuana program, including requirements that applicants must be fingerprinted and have their criminal backgrounds screened.
Patients will be required to receive an Illinois Cannabis Tracking System certification from their doctors, upon which they can register online for a 90-day medical cannabis license that costs $10 and allows access to a maximum of 2.5 ounces every two weeks.'
Read more: Illinois Residents Can Now Swap Prescription Opioid Painkillers For Medical Marijuana