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Officials say the first approval letters have been sent to Illinois patients who've applied to use medical marijuana legally.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold confirmed Monday that about a dozen letters have gone out as the state reviews applications from patients, which have come in by the thousands.

According to reports, Jim Champion of Somonauk (SAHM'-uh-nahk) received an approval letter last week. He's a 48-year-old veteran with multiple sclerosis, a qualifying condition under the new law.

Illinois is taking applications from patients whose last names begin with A through L.

Patients whose last names begin with M through Z are asked to wait until Nov. 1 to apply.

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