Missouri Bans Illinois Medical Marijuana Patients

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville, IL on opening day Jan. 25, 2016.

By: Cecil King         

Missouri Bans Illinois Medical Marijuana Patients

Traveling east across St. Louis’ Popular Street Bridge and a few miles up the road to Collinsville, IL you’ll find a shiny new, modern medical cannabis dispensary, HCI Alternatives.

HCI Alternatives opened its doors at noon on a cold and blustery Monday, January 25, 2016. Customers flocked to the dispensary on its grand-opening day quickly filling the two parking lots.

Newly licensed Illinois medical marijuana patients residing in the eastern side of the St. Louis metro area have waited a long time, since Jan. 1, 2014, when the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (MCPPA) officially became law. Regulatory issues including rule making and licensing delays, licensing lawsuits, and a change of governors delayed implementation of the law.

Now that these Illinois medical cannabis patients have finally obtained legal status to use their medicine, they may have to endure one more roadblock.

That roadblock is Missouri. The show-me state does not allow cannabis use or possession.

Illinois medical cannabis patients in possession of legally obtained cannabis medicine cannot visit family or friends in Missouri. They cannot visit any Missouri hospitals with their medicine or complete any appointments, tests or therapy procedures with Missouri medical specialists.

Crossing over the state line into Missouri by a patient possessing 2.5 ounces of cannabis, the permitted 14-day legal supply in Illinois, can subject them to arrest and imprisonment with a maximum sentence of a year and a $5,000 fine.

When Illinois medical doctors recommend daily cannabis usage for seizures caused by epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or any of the 40 conditions under the MCPPA, patients have to interrupt doctor recommended treatment for their illness to travel to Missouri.

Nevada, Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, and Rhode Island have reciprocity with other medical cannabis legal states allowing out-of-state marijuana patients, with a government-issued medical marijuana ID card, to use and posses medical cannabis legally.

Half of US states allow medical cannabis therapy. The total number of states with legal medical cannabis is now 25.  Missouri does not and continues to deny patients this type of treatment.

Meanwhile, Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program will be extended another two and a half years until July 1, 2020. Legislators unanimously passed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) amending the MCPPA.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues adding medical marijuana patients to the Medical Cannabis Registry Program. As of June 1, 2016, 7,000 applications have been successfully processed (including 52 patients under 18 years of age). Approximately 9,200 people have submitted an application and the required fee to IDPH.

Hopefully, the remaining 1,200 applicants won’t face any roadblocks and will quickly receive their Patient Registry Identification Card.