Illinois Opioid Alternative Program
Illinois residents who have been prescribed opioids now have an all natural alternative to the addictive and sometimes deadly painkillers. The aptly named Opioid Alternative Pilot Program will provide enrollees with access to medical marijuana for the duration of their treatment.
Illinois’ medical marijuana legislation was signed into law in 2015. The measure allowed patients with any of around 40 qualifying medical conditions to purchase and possess cannabis products at state-licensed dispensaries. Qualifying medical conditions include ALS, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma and many others. Since it was initiated, sales of medical marijuana have topped $260 million. The state has licensed more than 50 dispensaries.
The program was expanded to include the opioid alternative back in August of 2018. Along with the expansion, a fingerprinting and background check requirement was dropped.
The addition of the opioid replacement program is expected to dramatically increase the demand for medical marijuana in the state, while cultivators and dispensaries are scrambling to keep up with demand.
The Opioid Epidemic In Illinois
The dramatic and rapid rise of prescription opioids and the number of deaths resulting from their use is no less than an epidemic in the U.S. Opioids are responsible for 49,000 of the 72,000 drug overdose deaths in……