Getting a medical marijuana card is easier than ever — and it could help you avoid lines, save money when recreational sales start

By: Tom Schuba 

Want to skip lines at dispensaries, avoid hefty taxes and have access to a consistent pot supply after recreational marijuana is legalized?

If you qualify for a medical cannabis card, you can do just that — and a streamlined process means you might be able to start buying weed less than 24 hours after submitting an application.

Illinois’ medical pot program, made permanent in August, has recently undergone a massive expansion after years of stringent control while it was a pilot. In addition to the 52 conditions covered by the program — including post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and autism — state residents who have been prescribed opioid painkillers can now access medical marijuana through the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.

With less than two weeks until weed is fully legalized across Illinois, state lawmakers are warning of a supply shortage as the limited number of dispensaries gear up for a huge influx of new customers. Though the state’s stash may quickly be depleted, medical patients will be able to breeze past the lines at many dispensaries and buy cannabis from reserves state law requires pot shops to keep.

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