CHICAGO – February 1, 2019 – PRESS RELEASE – Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multistate cannabis operators in the United States, has announced that the company’s FloraMedex dispensary launched Illinois’ Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP) today, vastly expanding the population of Illinois patients who can access medical cannabis in place of pharmaceutical opioid medications. Under this new program, patients with doctor approval can receive near-immediate access to cannabis products from an Illinois licensed dispensary. The OAPP eliminates the previously required red tape – fingerprinting and background checks – that often delay patients' access to medical cannabis by up to three months. Under this act, Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) patients with one of the 41 qualifying medical conditions designated by the state of Illinois, and a doctor recommendation can also receive a temporary medical cannabis card online and make immediate cannabis purchases without waiting for their permanent card to be processed.
“The passage of the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program is important legislation for the patients across Illinois that have been looking for an alternative form of relief, and we are very excited to make the first sale of medical cannabis under the program,” said Cresco Labs CEO and Co-Founder Charles Bachtell. “The program will open up access to medical cannabis across the state and eliminate the wait time and red tape previously required. Opioid addiction impacts up to two million citizens across our country, and we are proud that Cresco Labs is now able to offer Illinois patients a better treatment option and much-needed relief.”
The Alternative to Opioids Act was signed into law by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in August 2018. The Act significantly expands access to Illinois’ medical cannabis program by allowing patients to purchase medical cannabis in place of doctor prescribed opioid medications. In 2017 alone, over two million patients received nearly five million opioid prescriptions in Illinois. Now, under the pilot program, patients with one of 41 qualifying medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation can choose cannabis over opioid treatment and receive a temporary medical cannabis card online. Cannabis purchases can then be made immediately without waiting for a permanent card to be processed.