Illinois medical marijuana sales spur excitement, worry

MUNDELEIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois will begin its first medical marijuana sales within the next two weeks and public sentiment ranges from cautious to elated.

State officials said Thursday that required ID cards are being mailed this week to 3,200 approved patients. Lab testing of legally grown marijuana has started. A half-dozen retail shops are licensed and ready.

It will be a big moment for the 2-year-old pilot program. Patients will finally get a chance to buy a drug legally that some admit they now purchase on the black market.

Some say they will drive long distances to buy their first legal weed. Neighbors worry about loitering and crime. Police plan extra patrols when the first dispensaries open.

Illinois medical marijuana program director Joseph Wright says an exact start date will be announced soon.