We reported in March of this year that Illinois approved a pilot program for medical marijuana. In our article, The business of medical marijuana in Illinois: stay tuned, attorney, Michael V. Favia stated in response to the new law, “I think this is a fast moving business opportunity with huge potential for those who can get it up and going as soon as possible. Our firm has already been contacted by several interested parties and we have commenced preparation of the documents necessary to initiate the process. In the meantime, there’s an extensive amount of complexity involved in securing these marijuana outlets, which requires the necessary expertise and the appropriate staff to move it along quickly. Many, if not most, interested parties have already commenced taking steps in a business that looks to be very lucrative if operated correctly.”
The regulations are still being established and the program is not active yet.
Today certain segments of the regulatory scheme are still underway with the agencies involved in overseeing the policy and processes involved in the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (“IDOA”), the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”), the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) and the Illinois Department of Revenue (“IDOR”)[i].
Since the pilot program became law January 1, 2014, the IDFPR has been warning the public to wait for the green light on cannabis clinics. On July 15, 2014, a legislative committee approved proposed regulations for growing, dispensing and registering patients under the Act, the IDFPR has not issued any licenses to grow or dispense medical marijuana. In fact, the physician certification forms are not available yet. The forms for physician, patient and caregiver certifications are scheduled to be available sometime this August.
It is illegal to operate or doing business with any dispensary before the law allows.
A formal complaint was recently filed against Dr. Joseph Starkman, “for establishing a cannabis clinic and operating that clinic in violation of both the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act and the Medical Practice Act,” according to recent reports and warnings by the IDFPR[ii].
Dr. Starkman, according to the IDFPR complaint, opened a cannabis clinic and in late 2013, he required a 79-year old patient to pay a fee in the amount of $250 prior to an office visit. The doctor then met with his patient and reviewed medical records showing he was diagnosed with glaucoma. Dr. Starkman, without performing an eye exam, declared his patient eligible for medical marijuana and sent him home to wait for an official certificate to come in the mail, for use at Illinois-licensed dispensaries.
To read more about this case, you may review the IDFPR press release and the official complaint against Dr. Starkman and the alleged certificate offered to his patient. The prayer for relief from the Court in the complaint is for the suspension and/or revocation of Dr. Starkman’s Physician and Surgeon License and to be otherwise disciplined.
Any conduct that violates the laws governing a licensed professional practice can cause the loss or suspension of the individual’s license to practice their craft. Michael V. Favia and Associates advises and represents professional license holders and applicants. Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to help and meet for client consultations with offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs so you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.
[i] Law Firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates in Chicago, Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program: Implementation Update #3.
[ii] eNews Park Forest, Regulators Charge Chicago Area Doctor with Cannabis Violations. Jul. 28, 2014.