A major win in the privacy of medical cannabis patients was signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker on December 4th, 2019. The new amendment to Illinois cannabis law will see the removal of patient and caregiver information from the Secretary of State’s driving record database. In fact, the Secretary of State is required to have all notations removed from their database within the next six months. Why is that important?
This database is used not only by the Secretary of State but also local and state law enforcement. When a patient or caregiver is pulled over, police were then able to see a notation on their driving record that they were an Illinois medical cannabis card holder. With this new change, this sets the minds of these individuals at ease knowing they can travel freely with their medical cannabis. Patients, caregivers and soon, adult consumers, should place their cannabis an adequate distance from the driver’s seat in a safe and secure location. It is best practices to transport cannabis in lockable and scent-proof containers or bags to deter anyone other than the owner from gaining access.
Lack of privacy is far from a new concern of Illinois medical cannabis patients and caregivers. Until August 2018, prospective patients were required to undergo a fingerprint background check as part of the application process for an Illinois medical cannabis card. Ultimately, this step prevented many individuals concerned with privacy from obtaining their medical cannabis cards altogether.
The amendment to remove patient information from the Illinois Secretary of State databases is a step in the right direction to restore rights to medical patients and caregivers that previously may have felt scrutinized by law enforcement that follow dated cannabis laws. If cannabis is properly transported and you do not drive under the influence, police will no longer have an inclination that you are a medical cannabis card holder.