The number of medical marijuana patients approved in Illinois is increasing.
Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Wednesday about 11,000 people started the process online and 1,600 have submitted at least some paperwork. The department has approved approximately 600 patient applications.
A month ago, the department had approved about 230 patient applications.
The state's new program requires patients to have a qualifying condition such as cancer. Patients must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check using a state-approved fingerprint vendor.
Most patients also must get their doctor's permission to use medical marijuana. Only military veterans getting Veterans Affairs care won't need a doctor's signature. That's because VA doctors, as federal employees, aren't permitted to recommend controlled substances to treat ailments.