By The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Medical marijuana sales have begun in Illinois with patients flocking to state-licensed retail shops in five cities.
Among the first buyers Monday was Maggie Chatterton, a 25-year-old homemaker in central Illinois. She drove 20 miles to the Salveo Health & Wellness dispensary in Canton where doors opened around 9:30 a.m.
She says $385 an ounce is a fair price for a drug that she hopes will help her manage pain from a spine condition. She’s telling her 4-year-old son that marijuana is a natural medicine.
Five dispensaries plan to sell marijuana Monday. The others are in Addison, Marion, Mundelein and Quincy. Approximately 3,300 patients with Illinois-issued ID cards will be able to purchase medical cannabis.
Illinois is among 23 states with medical marijuana programs.
MORE: Get details on how the state is regulating Illinois medical marijuana.
The road to legal medical marijuana in Illinois began more than a decade ago, when proponents first began pushing legislation in Springfield. After many defeats, a law establishing a pilot program was approved in 2013. Here are key dates since the law was passed:
Aug. 1, 2013: Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, signs the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, making Illinois the 21st state allowing marijuana for medical use. The law authorizes a four-year pilot program that expires at the end of 2017.
July 15, 2014: A legislative committee approves the program’s rules for patients, growers and retailers. Public comments from patients, entrepreneurs and city officials helped shape the rules.
Source: The Cannabist