By Associated Press
(AP) — Illinois is about to roll out a pilot program that will offer patients access to medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids, and medical marijuana dispensaries across the state are getting ready.
Illinois dispensaries are extending hours and hiring additional workers for the expected increased demand in medical marijuana once the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program launches at the end of January, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The Illinois Department of Public Health’s program will allow medical marijuana to be used in place of prescription painkillers. Patients previously had to have one of about 40 conditions, such as cancer or AIDS, to qualify for medical cannabis.
Jennifer Dooley is the chief strategy officer at Green Thumb Industries, a Chicago-based medical marijuana provider. She says staffers are being trained on how to help patients safely transition from opioids to medical marijuana.