IDPH officials see increase in approved medical marijuana applications

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CHICAGO - Illinois Department of Public Health officials say they're seeing an increase in the number of patients who are being approved to use medical marijuana.

On Wednesday, Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold announced that approximately 11,000 people have begun their online applications, and that 1,600 people have given the department paperwork.

Officials say about 600 patient applications have been approved, in comparison to about 230 applications approved last month.

In order to participate in Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program, patients are required to have a qualifying condition, such as cancer, and must submit their fingerprints to a state-approved fingerprint vendor for a criminal background check.  With the exception of military veterans getting Veterans Affairs care, patients who are applying must also obtain their doctor's permission to use medical marijuana.  Those veterans will not need a doctor's permission, as VA doctors are federal employees, and therefore cannot recommend controlled substances to treat medical conditions or ailments.

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