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What do marijuana, tanning, firearms and Illinois have in common for 2014?
What do marijuana, tanning, firearms and Illinois have in common for 2014?
State legalizes medical marijuana, concealed firearm carry; restricts teen tanning

Chicago, IL - Numerous laws enacted in 2013 take effect this week, including a few that come with a dose of controversy. The Illinois State Medical Society is working to educate physicians and patients on how to stay on the right side of the law for several new acts.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act institutes a four-year medical marijuana pilot program. The initiative legalizes medical marijuana use for patients suffering from one of more than 35 approved conditions. Despite the law's January 1 effective date, administrative rules are still under development and medical marijuana dispensing won't begin for at least a of couple months. ISMS has developed a guideline to assist our member physicians in navigating the law's nuances. 

ISMS President Eldon A. Trame, MD, explains that "the rules and regulations for how to implement the pilot are still being worked out. Even without the rules, there is a thirst for information. ISMS developed our physician guideline as an easy resource for understanding and complying with the law." The resource will be amended as administrative rules are adopted. ISMS members can access the document free-of-charge. 

ISMS has also developed a guideline for physicians on the Firearm Concealed Carry Act. Dr. Trame explains the physician connection: "Concealed carry might not seem to be a medical issue, but physicians working in mental health settings are required to report certain patients such as those who have developmental disabilities or pose a clear and present danger to themselves or others." ISMS is working to educate members on these reporting requirements. Dr. Trame added, "We also want make sure physicians understand fully what the law stipulates in terms of how a medical practice must accommodate a patient's right to carry a firearm. For example, if a physician owns the building housing his or her practice, that physician can post a sign prohibiting firearms on the premises." The concealed carry firearm guideline is available online.

Finally, Illinois' new law banning indoor tanning bed use by minors will help prevent skin cancer, which is often linked to sunbed use. Dr. Trame said ISMS supported the law because "melanomas are the second most common form of cancer for 15- to 29-year-olds. Many of these cases are preventable and avoidable. Banning sunbed use for anyone under age 18 will save lives." Young people should not hesitate to enjoy a sunny day outdoors, but Dr. Trame recommends that everyone "use sunscreen - your skin will later thank you!"

ISMS is a professional membership association representing 11,000 physicians practicing in all medical specialties statewide. Dr. Trame is an internal medicine specialist practicing in Belleville.

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