04/18/2014 02:18 pm ET Updated Apr 18, 2014

State Will No Longer Make Sick People Choose Between Medical Marijuana And Guns

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Illinois regulators have dropped proposed medical marijuana restrictions that would have required gun owners to choose between their weapons and their weed.

The change was revealed when the Illinois Department of Public Health formally filed rules for the state's medical cannabis pilot program -- the strictest in the nation -- after months of public feedback.

Stricken from rules originally proposed in January is language requiring legal gun owners (and their caregivers) to relinquish their Firearm Owner Identification cards before joining the state's medical marijuana registry, and banned medical marijuana patients from owning firearms.

That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that Illinois residents can legally mix the two. Federal law still bars gun ownership to anyone who uses marijuana or other controlled substances.

“Under federal law, anyone who is using marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use... is considered an unlawful user,” Thomas Ahern, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Advocates still cheer the state's decision: “Anything that makes it less burdensome for the patients is always a good thing,” said Julie Falco of Chicago, who has used cannabis to control pain from multiple sclerosis, reports the Associated Press.

The newly-filed rules not only allow approved medical cannabis use for gun owners, they also make it cheaper for prospective patients. Regulators dropped a medical marijuana registry free from $150 to $100; veterans and people with disabilities would only pay $50.

The Chicago Tribune reports prospective business owners were less enthused by the new rules, which come with high fee requirements to run a dispensary or cultivation house. Grow house owners will be required to pay a non-refundable $5,000 application fee, and the the liquid assets required to open a grow center doubled from $250,000 to $500,000.

The rules now go to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, where the rules will be reviewed and approved after a 45-day period to solicit the public's comments and suggestions.


  • Strains of Kaboom and Blue Mystic!
    Nothern Lights Natural Rx
    The two strains (the latter of which is pictured here) are among those most popular at Northern Lights Natural Rx, says co-owner Eva Woolhiser. But when it comes to edibles, she said customers will go for "anything."
  • The Ominously-Named 'Death Star' Strain!
    Dank Colorado
    Owner Justin Jones of Dank Colorado: "Our Death Star [strain] has been really popular."
  • And Blue Daddy and Mr. Pink Too!
    Sean Barbas
    "Our in house strains like Blue Daddy and Mr. Pink (pictured here) have been really popular,” Mile High Medical Cannabis store manager Sean Barbas said. "It’s been nuts”
  • 'Euphoric' Cannabis Concentrate!
    At The Health Center, owner Tiffany Goldman said a product called Shatter was the top choice among recreational customers before it sold out. Officially known as a cannabis concentrate, it's a form of hash and "according to most people it's more euphoric.
  • Blue Kudu Chocolate!
    The edible has been especially popular at Kine Mine, but customers shouldn't get in over their heads. "We’ve been warning people about the potency," CEO and founder Theran Snyder said.
  • Pop Rocks Candy Bars!
    "Edibles have been flying off the shelves," Denver Kush owner Darin Smith said. "We’ve found particular success with the Incredibles Fireworks bar. It’s got chocolate mixed with pop rocks and the packaging is just great."
  • Weed Flowers!
    Tim Cullen
    “Cannabis flowers have been flying out the door," Evergreen Apothecary co-owner Tim Cullen said. "People have been waiting two hours for just two minutes in the store and couldn’t be happier for it.”
  • Weed Sodas!
    THC-infused sodas are displayed for sale in a cooler at The Clinic, a Denver-based marijuana dispensary with several outlets.
  • Something Called a TKO Bar, Whatever That Is!
    Hank Borunda
    "The TKO bar is most popular amongst patients," The Greener Side Owner Hank Borunda wrote in an email to HuffPost.
  • Here's What A Weed Menu Looks LIke!
    A recreational marijuana menu and price list sits on a counter at 3D Cannabis Center.
  • And Some Normal Bagged Weed!
    Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
    Packages of marijuana labeled for recreational use are spread out on a counter at Northern Lights Cannabis Co in Edgewater, Colorado on January 1, 2014.
  • And Of Course, Just Plain, Old Weed Cigarettes!
    Different strains of marijuana are displayed for sale at The Clinic in Denver.