The New Year is upon us, and recreational cannabis is just around the corner for Illinoisans. While this is certainly an exciting time for IL residents, enthusiasm has been significantly tempered by the recent flower shortage. The medical program in IL boasts nearly 100,000 members, but come the New Year, when the legislation goes into effect, demand is expected to be in the millions. However, the new law states that dispensaries must have product on hand for medical patients before serving the recreational market, or face a hefty fine. With product shortages already affecting patients across the state, this is a major reason to hold onto your medical cannabis card or get certified now. Card carrying patients will also be legally permitted to grow medicine at their homes. Earlier this year, we discussed 3 reasons to still get your medical cannabis card despite legalization. As the landscape around cannabis continues to evolve, here are four more reasons to get your medical cannabis card in Illinois as we move into the new decade.
- Dispensaries will not run out of product for medical patients (or are much less likely to). If you’re part of the conversation surrounding cannabis in Illinois right now, you know what everybody is talking about: the flower shortage. Demand for medical cannabis is already rising solely due to the demand from card-carrying patients in Illinois, and it’s expected to be multiplied several-fold come January 1st. To ensure patients who have an established medical basis for consuming cannabis have priority access to their medication, dispensaries will be required to have product on hand for medical patients before selling recreationally. As such, this is one major reason that individuals are encouraged to renew or register as a certified medical cannabis patient in the state of Illinois.
- Card carrying patients can jump to the front of the line (or a different, shorter line). Wait times at dispensaries can already be a drag, especially if you’re in a hurry. When legalization occurred in Michigan, there were reports of 2-hour waits! Traffic at dispensaries is expected to grow in just a few short weeks, so card-carrying patients can find comfort in knowing there will be two separate lines: one for medical patients and one for recreational customers.
- Card-carrying patients can grow their own cannabis at home. One the most exciting and highly anticipated events coming in the new year is the home grow for card-carrying patients in IL. Starting January 1st, patients that are registered as Illinois-certified medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants in their own home. Many are excited to take this step towards self-sustainability and the cultivation of “cannabis sovereignty.” As prices remain high and product shortages ominously continue, the ability for patients to grow their own medicine at home is a huge reason for everyone to consider getting their cannabis cards. (To learn more about how to grow your own cannabis at home, check out this great blog.)
- Use your insurance to see a real doctor who can help you optimize your medical cannabis treatment. It may seem too good to be true, but there are truthfully great doctors out there who will not only embrace your willingness to try medical cannabis, but will help you in optimizing your treatment, too. Medicating with cannabis isn’t always easy at first, especially due to the incredibly wide variety of products and vast selection of strains at dispensaries. A little bit of guidance can go a long way. Check out this Chicago Tribune article, which describes what Innovative Wellness is doing to help patients figure out what products and strains to use to help treat various medical conditions. Because we are a real doctor’s office, we can use medical insurance to bill your visit (both for certification and for strain consultation).
Other Great Reasons to Get Your Medical Cannabis Card Today
While the aforementioned reasons are some of the biggest benefits for card-carrying patients, that certainly isn’t an exhaustive list. As discussed in our previous blog, IL medical cannabis patients will also be able to pay less in taxes than their recreational counterparts. Quality control standards for cannabis products will also be held to a higher standard to ensure that patients have access to the highest quality medicine. As it stands, there are significant advantages to getting your medical cannabis card today. It is now easier, faster, and cheaper than ever to get your medical cannabis card in IL, and our dedicated team of healthcare professionals at Innovative Wellness are big advocates for medical cannabis, and they’re always here to help facilitate the process.