- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The number of Illinois patients getting state approval to use medical marijuana continues to climb.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that 1,600 patients have now been approved for the program. That’s 600 more than one month ago.

But it’s still far short of the “tens of thousands” of patients the program’s coordinator hoped would enroll in the first year. In July, program coordinator Bob Morgan said “thousands, hopefully tens of thousands” were expected to enroll.

The health department announced Wednesday that about 18,400 people have started the patient registration process. Of those, about 2,500 have submitted at least part of the application.

Qualifying patients pay an annual fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor’s written certification.

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Online: Medical Cannabis Pilot Program: https://mcpp.illinois.gov

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