Thousands of patients in Illinois will be able to start requesting permission to use marijuana under a new state law.
Authorities begin accepting applications for medical marijuana Tuesday from patients whose last names start with letters A through L. Caregivers can also apply on their behalf.
Lawmakers adopted the medical marijuana law in 2013. Under its provisions, patients must have a prescription and get a background check. The state is required to respond to a completed application within 30 days.
Patients whose last names begin with M through Z will have to wait until Nov. 1 to submit applications.
With time needed to select suppliers, to build facilities and to actually grow the marijuana, pot likely won't be available for patients in Illinois until next year.
"There's not going to be medicine on the market because we're still in the application phase for the cultivation centers and dispensaries, so realistically there's about a year before there's any medicine in the market," Bradley Vallerius, a Chicago attorney that focuses on medical marijuana said.
However, Valerius does believes the patient application process is a step in the right direction.
"I have to believe it's one of the biggest economic engines internally for a long time, I think its a great first step, and we will see what kind of data we learn in the first four year and then we'll adjust accordingly," Vallerius said.
For more information on the application process, talk to your doctor or
for the online eLicense System.
(KHQA Multimedia Journalist Jack Pluta contributed to this Associated Press story.)