Medical marijuana enthusiasts in Illinois will be forced to do the bureaucratic perp walk.
Who knew that getting stoned would be so complicated?
But it obviously is. Why else would state health officials issue 48 pages of proposed regulations that will govern the sale of medical marijuana under Illinois' new Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program?
It didn't take long before critics suggested that the regulations not only are not compassionate, but "cruel and inhumane." So said a representative of the state branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The NORML representative wasn't the only one complaining. Claudia Lennhoff, executive director of the Champaign County Health Care Consumers, suggested the regulations treat "sick people like they are criminals."
What the regulations actually propose is treating applicants for a patient registry identification card with skepticism, which is appropriate — even if likely futile.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is in the process of writing the administrative rules under which medical marijuana will become available. The department is taking public comments until Feb. 7. After that, it will submit the proposed rules to a legislative committee for approval. State bureaucrats say the process will take months to complete.
It's no secret that the medical marijuana program has proved to be a sham in many of the 20 states where it's already in place, largely because the rules are so lax that virtually anyone can get medical marijuana for virtually anything. Two states, Colorado and Washington, threw in the towel on medical marijuana and have legalized the sale of marijuana outright. Business in Colorado is booming, the demand driving consumers and prices sky high.
State legislators say they want it to be different in Illinois, requiring that applicants for medical marijuana actually have a legitimate medical problem that might respond to pot smoking. The regulations outline 41 medical conditions that will be covered by the law and require a doctor's certification of need for medical marijuana. But medical marijuana entrepreneurs already are working on getting around the rules, and it would be surprising if they do not succeed.
In the meantime, bureaucrats are bureaucratizing medical marijuana, taking the fun out of it.