MMJ Patient Growth Slows to a Crawl in Illinois

Illinois has released the latest tally of approved medical marijuana patients in the state, and the figure is a bit disheartening for companies awarded licenses to grow, process and sell medical cannabis.

While the number of patients certified to purchase MMJ has climbed to 2,500 – up from 2,000 a few months ago – the pace of approvals has slowed.

Illinois sent out roughly 200 approval letters in May, down from 300 in April and 400 in March, according to the Associated Press, citing Illinois government data. The number of patients who actually applied for MMJ cards in May improved only slightly month-over-month.

About 3,100 patients have submitted a completed application since the program started, meaning several hundred are still waiting to hear back from the state. But even if all of them are approved, the total will still be low.

The relatively shallow patient pool is becoming a growing concern for cannabis companies, which have also battled delays tied to the rollout of the state’s medical cannabis program. The lack of patients even led one company that had been awarded a cultivation permit to give up its license.

There’s hope on the horizon, however. An Illinois advisory board recommended expanding the list of ailments that qualify for MMJ to boost patient numbers, and advocacy groups are holding events to inform people about the benefits of medical cannabis.

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4 comments on “MMJ Patient Growth Slows to a Crawl in Illinois
  1. paul on

    NO [email protected]*
    Any reasonable patient that believes MMJ would improve the quality of their life would first find a doctor that is willing to recommend MMJ before starting the application. Well, surprise, there aren’t any. The industry believes that the doctors that want to make money will comply. I don’t know who their doctor is but my doctor makes plenty of money without MMJ. Why should they take the risk of the Fed or Insurance coming down on them for involvement in this program. There are not enough doctors, though plenty of patients interested in the program. I am not going to start my application until I can find a compassionate doctor. This program is doomed until something changes.

  2. Gentle Jim on

    It’s not hard to figure out. When the politicians, state boards , etc, make mmj too expensive and complicated, the potential patients buy blackmarket or grow on the side. Carefull you state officials, if you get too greedy the consumers will ignore you and your power trip.

  3. Karen on

    The message heard clearly in Illinois is that the medical community as a whole, is not supportive of recommending cannabis. The AMA has done little to nothing to address physician concerns over losing a license or insurance liability considerations. The highly respected medical university teaching and research institutions in Chicago are NOT encouraging their doctors to become educated and the big pharma companies have lots of leverage in swaying those perceptions.

    This is not a problem unique to Illinois. It’s a national issue that will take decades to change, unless more lobbying and advocating is done to influence the medical community to be on the right side of history.

  4. Robert on

    The mm program, in illinois is only a profit off the disabled business. Illinois won’t let patients grow their own medicine, this is one of the problems, and, why would someone on a fixed income buy such a small amount for pain management when they can get it cheaper on the BLACKMARKET?
    I Mean who could afford to spend $600.a month on something only worth $ 60. The markup is ridiculous.
    Freedom from pain should be a humanitarian right, not a pay as you die for profit venture.
    So I’ve been approved, big deal, I can’t afford it.and each day these ghost dispensaries arent open only means more suffering for those that need relief.
    Someday, but don’t hold your breath. And coming to your neighborhood soon is more buerocratic b.s.

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