Marijuana is expected to be sold legally in Illinois for the first time in decades Monday for people who have qualified to be among the first patients in the state ‘s medical cannabis program.

Excluding any last-minute flaws, up to eight marijuana shops, including several in the Chicago area, are planning to open Monday, after state regulators gave cultivation centers the green light to start shipping marijuana to the retailers this past week.

Five of the pot shops confirmed they are stocked up and are ready to open, according to the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois.

Illinois officials state they shipped the required ID cards Oct. 30 to qualifying patients, whose numbers have increased to about 3,300 – still much lower than the number that many individuals in the fledgling industry say is needed to make the business viable in Illinois.

State workers were expected to work through the weekend to complete setting up a computer database of patients and caregivers that marijuana shops must use to track where patients purchase their medicinal marijuana and how much so that patients can not go over the legal limit of 2 1/2 ounces every two weeks.

Additional dispensaries are expected to get the go-ahead to open up shop by the end of the year, with a total of 18 grow houses and 60 marijuana shops authorized to operate under the state’s four-year pilot program, scheduled to end in 2018.

The state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, which former Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in August 2013, was created by lawmakers to be more stringent than other states that were earlier to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

Those looking to become qualified patients, for example, must not only get a recommendation from a doctor that they have one of about 40 qualifying conditions, yet they must also submit fingerprints and go through criminal background checks -measures that critics call heavy-handed and one cause of the program’s delayed start.

Rauner later would turn down proposals to add 11 new qualifying medical conditions to the list.

A state panel later suggested that four pain-related conditions, autism, osteoarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and PTSD become an addition to the list, however, those have not yet won final approval.

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