The COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate the legalization of marijuana deliveries in Illinois.

Sonya Harper, a Democratic state House representative from Chicago, had already introduced a bill last month that would open the door for both medical and recreational cannabis customers to receive their products via delivery.  

Harper’s legislation would remove language from the existing state statute “prohibiting dispensing organizations from transporting cannabis to residences or other locations where purchasers may be for delivery,” while providing “that dispensing organizations may deliver cannabis or cannabis-infused products to purchasers if specified requirements are met.”

The bill was referred to the state House rules committee on February 18, but Harper is now pushing Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to enact her proposal in response to the coronavirus outbreak. “I would be happy to see if the governor maybe could make a special executive order allowing that, or us being able to get that legislation through maybe quicker than normal this year to provide for that,” said Harper, as quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Changing Laws to Promote Public Health

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced new rules allowing marijuana dispensaries to conduct curbside sales for the duration of March in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

The guidelines will permit the dispensary to sell medical cannabis on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to utilize their designated caregiver to purchase medicine for them,” the department said at the time. “However, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home. These rules do not apply to adult use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area.”

Harper told the Sun-Times that her proposal would be ““more difficult” than implementing the temporary curbside pickup procedure.

“It would entail basically giving all municipalities and everybody across the state the ability to open up deliveries,” Harper said. “It would also be creating a new type of license.”

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