Chicago office advertising medical marijuana opens

ILLINOIS:  The sign in the window of the office building in West Town was enough to bring in a steady stream of potential customers. Its message read: “Medical marijuana may be right for you.”

Wednesday was opening day for the office of Brian Murray, a general practice physician who said he runs a clinic in Michigan where qualified patients can receive medical marijuana. But the new Illinois law allowing medical marijuana won’t provide anyone with the drug until next year.

The Illinois law, signed this month by Gov. Pat Quinn, allows for the legal possession, use and sale of marijuana for some 40 medical conditions, including HIV, AIDS, cancer and other diseases. It is far more restrictive than laws in some other states, which allow use of the drug for catch-all categories like chronic pain.

The Illinois law requires that patients have an existing relationship with a physician who can provide documentation to support his or her medical need to use the drug, which remains a federally banned substance.

Murray said opening the clinic now makes it possible to establish a meaningful doctor-patient relationship for clients who may not have another doctor.

But some who walked into the office Wednesday simply had questions about the law or wanted to find out how to open a distribution center. None asked to buy marijuana on the spot, said Daniel Reid, a spokesman for the office.

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