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More patients applying for medical marijuana cards

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reports the number of applications has increased by 40 percent and the number of approvals has increased by 75 percent since March. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports the number of applications has increased by 40 percent and the number of approvals has increased by 75 percent since March.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Numbers for the medical marijuana program have finally started to see an increase according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, but it's still moving at a slow pace.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the number of applications has increased by 40 percent and the number of approvals has increased by 75 percent since March.

However, Chris Wildrick with Herbal Remedies LLC. says when there were already so few before, those percentage points are misleading.

"When we first started the whole application process, the state originally forecasted 103,000 patients within the state of Illinois," Wildrick said. "Through the end of July however, we are at 2,800."

Wildrick says they are still encouraged to see the process is speeding up and that more patients are being approved.

However, it isn't all good news for the Illinois Medical Marijuana Program.

Herbal Remedies LLC workers say they were then discouraged by the amendatory veto from Governor Bruce Rauner for extending the medical marijuana program.

The bill would have pushed the expiration back from the end of 2017 to four years after the first dispensary permit is issued. However, Rauner said a 120 day extension is more appropriate and Herbal Remedies LLC. manager Andy Schnack says this could end up being a good thing.

"Once it expires, it will allow us to make some changes to that bill and make it a little more patient friendly," Schnack said. "Maybe, perhaps, they will remove the finger print process from this whole thing. That will make it a little easier for patients to actually have access to the medicine."

Schnack, who is also approved under the state's program as a patient, says the application process alone can set patients back $200 to $300 just to apply.

Schnack says cards are not being issued yet, but approval letters are being sent out. That's because the cards are only good for one year, so if they were sent out now, patients would lose time on their card.

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