HCI Alternatives medical cannabis dispensaries in Collinsville and Springfield are among those in the state that have begun to accept new patients under Illinois’ Opioid Alternative Pilot Program that began Jan. 31.
The new program, the first of its kind in the United States, allows patients who would normally be prescribed opioid painkillers to temporarily use cannabis to manage their pain in conjunction with a certification from their doctor.
“This program will open the door to thousands of Illinoisans who don’t want to use dangerously addictive opioids to manage their pain,” said HCI Alternatives CEO Chris Stone. “Our staff is ready to educate new patients about their options and walk them through the process. We have also worked with our cultivation partners to ensure we have enough product to handle the expected patient increase over the next several months.”
Rules for all Illinois medical cannabis patients are now more streamlined with the elimination of fingerprinting and background checks, which took months to process. Medical cannabis can be accessed within hours of a doctor entering the certification form into the state’s secure electronic system, which is accessible by licensed dispensaries in Illinois.
“This new program will reduce waiting times from several months to several hours and allow patients to legally access medical grade cannabis products to help manage their symptoms,” said HCI Chief Operating Officer Scott Abbott.
HCI says it can guide new patients through the OAPP process and is giving them an account credit to patients for the initial $10 registration fee required by the state, to apply towards their first purchase and each time they renew. To register, patients will need an email account to receive their provisional access registry card information. Patients will also need a valid driver’s license, proof of address, and a 2×2 color passport style photo. The state required $10 program registration fee must be with a credit or debit card.