CHICAGO (WLS) -- Patients lined up at the door on the first day of sales of medical marijuana in Illinois.
Rico was one of 200 people to get a prescription filled at The Clinic Mundelein, one of nine medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. The 20-year Army veteran suffers from severe back pain.
"This is just like I went to the doctor to get my medication," Rico said. "For year I've been taking Percocet and they've been giving me Dilaudid, and that just makes it to where I can't function."
Only patients with state-issued ID cards who are registered at a dispensary can purchase medical marijuana. The state has issued only about 3,300 IDs. Bob Morgan helped develop the program.
"We need more patients. We have a lot of patients who say they're interested who are choosing not to participate. We want to make sure those who are eligible and want to participate can," Morgan said.
Eight dispensaries in the state are approved to sell medical marijuana. At an average cost of $60 for an eighth an ounce, medical marijuana does not come cheap, especially as it's not covered by insurance. But those who sell it said patients will come to see the benefits of using a customized, state-regulated product.
"We have various kinds of strains that have different effects. So if patients need something to help them go to sleep, we have certain kinds of product for that. Cancer patients may need an appetite stimulant," Ben Kovler, CEO of The Clinic Mundelein, said.
Steven Bourgeois, who was diagnosed with spinal scoliosis and prostate cancer, said medical marijuana is a no brainer.
"It's a natural, safe alternative that won't be addictive," Bourgeois said.