Illinois Opening Program Allowing People to Swap Opioid Pain Pills for Medical Marijuana

Illinois Opening Program Allowing People to Swap Opioid Pain Pills for Medical Marijuana

ILLINOIS (IRN) — The state of Illinois is finally ready to implement a law first introduced back in 2017 to allow people to swap their opioid pain pill prescriptions for medical marijuana.

Illinois lawmakers approved the opioid alternative pilot program in the spring of 2018. Then Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it that August.

But the Illinois Department of Public Health is just getting around to opening the program.

Why? IDPH said there were a lot of rules and regulations to sift through.

Anyone who wants to get medical marijuana instead of pains pills needs to follow those rules, department spokeswoman Melanie Arnold said.

“Once they’ve talked with their doctor, the physician must complete a certification using the Illinois Cannabis Tracking System,” Arnold said. “After that, the patient can go ahead and go into this electronic system, create a registration online, and submit the rest of their information for registration.”

But Arnold said there could be no more waiting after that.

“As long as the physician certification is uploaded, and the patients is able to enter all of the information and documentation that is necessary, they should be able to get medical cannabis that same day,” Arnold said.

Patients who want to swap their opioid pain pills for medical pot must speak to their doctor about it, and the doctor must agree.

There is also a tracking program that goes along with the marijuana prescription. There’s also a $10 fee, and swapped scripts are only valid for 90 days.