Illinois Medical Marijuana Rulemaking Moves Forward

Newly revised versions of the rules and regulations for implementation of Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program were released yesterday. You can review them all here. These drafts reflect comments submitted by the public after the rules’ initial release in late January and early February.

This post addresses revisions to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s rules for dispensaries. Check back next week for more details on rules for patients and growers.

  • Application period: The previous draft provided for a ten day application window, which always seemed tight, particularly because certain documents (e.g., financial reports, certificates of good standing, etc.) were required to be dated within a matter of days of the date of your application. Thus, if you hit a snag with getting this documentation in order, you might just miss the application window. Hopefully the final application timeline is more reasonable.
  • Consultants: The first draft stated that IDFPR would “not coordinate with a  consultant working on behalf of the proposed dispensary organization.” In other words, applicants using marijuana consultants would still have to act as their own point person with the Department. The re-write softens that language, noting that the “Division will communicate with the proposed Dispensing Organization’s Principal Officers” and that “[t]he division will not communicate exclusively with a consultant….”
  • Downed systems: This topic was left out of the first draft, but it is a sensible mandate. If your video surveillance, point-of-sale, or cannabis electronic verification system is inoperative (no matter the cause), your dispensary may not open.
  • Recalls: The new draft sensibly adds provisions for recall procedures, including requirements for notifying those who sold and bought the offending product and destroying affected inventory. Sellers of medical marijuana should be concerned with the safety and effectiveness of their product, just like the sellers of any prescription drug or consumer product.
  • More details on disposition, sale, handling of cannabis: These additional guidelines (such as implementing the first-in-first-out rule) only make it easier for operators (particularly newbies) to know how to fashion their application and how to run their business.

On the downside, many were hoping the application and registration fees ($5000 and $30,000, respectively) would be decreased, but this draft does not include such a change.

What now? The publication of these drafts in the Illinois Register triggers a 45-day public comment period. If you want to comment on any of the above, or any provision related to dispensaries, email FPR.MedicalCannabis@illinois.gov. After public comment, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules will conduct its own 45-day review and vote to adopt the rules. Assuming things go smoothly, Illinois agencies could open an application period this fall.