CHICAGO (AP) — Thousands of patients in Illinois will be able to start requesting permission to use marijuana under a new state law.

Authorities begin accepting applications for medical marijuana Tuesday from patients whose last names start with letters A through L. Caregivers can also apply on their behalf.

Lawmakers adopted the medical marijuana law in 2013. Under its provisions, patients must have a prescription and get a background check. The state is required to respond to a completed application within 30 days.

Patients whose last names begin with M through Z will have to wait until Nov. 1 to submit applications.

With time needed to select suppliers, to build facilities and to actually grow the marijuana, pot likely won’t be available for patients in Illinois until next year.

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