Illinois state flag. Image: Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

CHICAGO -- More than 3,000 patients with Illinois-issued ID cards will be able to buy medical marijuana legally for the first time Monday, according to the state official overseeing the pilot program.

Eight licensed dispensaries are authorized to start selling cannabis on that day, program director Joseph Wright told The Associated Press.

The number will grow to a dozen dispensaries by the end of the month and up to 25 by the end of the year, Wright said.

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