Though new licensing notifications garnered most of the attention from House Bill 1443, medical patients should note two key amendments to the law.
One mendment signed into law today untethered patients by removing restrictions on where medical cardholders can buy medicine.
This amendment to the law expanded access for medical cardholders to buy at any dispensary in Illinois without switching dispensary via the state’s online registry.
For nearly a two weeks, during the rough transfer from the old dispensary registration system to a new system, the state has already been allowing medical cardholders to shop at any dispensary in Illinois.
In The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis (Section 5), the Program Act was amended by changing Sections 55, 100, 115, 130, and 145 and by adding Section 115.5.
In Sections 55 (Registration of qualifying patients and designated caregivers), the amendment crossed out that a medical cardholder must have the “name of the registered medical cannabis dispensing organization the qualifying patient designates.”
The word “specific” was crossed out from the line “entitled to purchase medical cannabis from a specified licensed dispensing organization,” and the line “specified in his or her application” was also crossed out.
Another amendment in the law reworded how patients and recreational users can legally possess cannabis while in a motor vehicle.
In Section 10-35 (Limitations and penalties) the law used to state that cannabis needed to be “in a vehicle not open to the public unless the cannabis is in a reasonably secured, sealed container and reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving.”
Now, the law states that cannabis cannot be in a vehicle “upon a highway in this State except in a secured, sealed or resealable, odor-proof, and child-resistant medical cannabis container that is inaccessible.”
Illinois changed its definition of “cannabis container,” from “a sealed, traceable, container, or package used for the purpose of containment of cannabis or cannabis-infused product during transportation” to “a sealed or resealable, traceable, container, or package used for the purpose of containment of cannabis or cannabis-infused product during transportation.”
This is significant to medical patients because the law had previously excluded medical patients from transporting homegrown medicine because the domestic container was not “sealed” from a dispensary.
This amendment to the law should end marijuana possession arrest by Darien Police Chief Greg Thomas, who had been arresting drivers and passengers for possession (not consumption) of marijuana in a motor vehicle.
Thomas was quoted as saying to his City Council, “The law is very specific and easy. Cannabis has to be contained in a sealed, odor-proof, child resistant container. It’s very simple. If it’s sealed in an odor-proof, child-resistant container, just keep it in there until you get home. If you open it, don’t transport it.”
Now, medical patients can legally transport cannabis in a motor vehicle, which, by the old law, they could not. In addition, a customer can inspect a product they just purchased for quality control in the parking lot of the dispensary and is able to return the product immediately, instead of finding a flawed product after returning home, which often can be more than an hour drive.
As long as customers have the cannabis in a “resealable” container that is “inaccessible” to them while driving, law enforcement officials, like Thomas, will not be able to use a wording glitch in the law to arrest otherwise law abiding citizens.
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