Regulators and dispensary operators are taking stock of medical marijuana in Illinois as the state’s program hits the two-year mark. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it has approved approximately 31,500 patients for the program, compared to more than 36,000 who have completed the application process. It has also approved more than 50 dispensaries throughout the state, including HCI Alternatives in Collinsville.
Scott Abbott is the company’s chief operating officer. He recently gave his assessment of medical marijuana in Illinois and where the business could be headed.
Listen to Wayne Pratt’s interview with HCI Alternatives’ COO Scott Abbott.
On the future of medical marijuana
Abbott says the much of the future boils down to federal versus state’s rights. The federal government still considers cannabis as a drug on par with heroin, which Abbott insists is not correct. That classification is having an impact.
“The fact that it’s still a Schedule 1 drug means that the insurance companies are not going to get involved in it. The banking industry’s not going to get involved in it,” Abbott said. He pointed to the Food and Drug Administration, which might be preparing to release two cannabis-derived drugs to treat children’s seizures.
“If that is the case, there is no way the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) can