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Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 3,300

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CHICAGO (AP) _ The number of Illinois patients approved to use medical marijuana continues to climb as dispensaries get ready to sell the drug for the first time.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday it has approved 3,300 patients to use medical marijuana in the state’s pilot program. That includes 20 children.

The department began mailing official identification cards to registered patients and caregivers Friday. Last week, program director Joseph Wright said sales should begin soon and a date would be announced.

The health department reported that about 4,300 people have submitted complete applications.

Qualifying patients pay an annual fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor’s written certification. Illinois is among 23 states that allow medical use of marijuana.

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