Despite a recommendation from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner decided not to add eight medical conditions to the state's medical cannabis pilot program. This is the second time his health department has turned down expanding the list of qualifying conditions.
The petition included four pain syndromes and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The first time Gov. Rauner’s health department rejected new conditions, the governor noted that the program was not yet fully up and running. However, now that dispensaries have opened in Illinois, that reasoning no longer applies. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board reviewed relevant studies and heard testimony from patients who could find relief if their conditions were added to the program.
Adding qualifying conditions would significantly improve the state program. The medical cannabis program recognizes only a narrow range of conditions, and Illinois is one of very few medical marijuana states that excludes patients with serious pain.
Last week was very eventful for marijuana policy reform. The Oregon Senate approved a bill granting PTSD sufferers access to medical marijuana, the Vermont House passed a bill to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession, and, in a victory that was years in the making, the Illinois House voted in favor of medical marijuana legislation.
The passing of House Bill 1 in Illinois is an example of public education at its finest. News organizations across the state set space aside to show their support for medical marijuana without reluctance.
Editorials in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Journal-Standard described the drug’s ability to alleviate suffering, and they also clearly addressed the bill’s strict guidelines to ease the fears of any hesitant readers.
Editorials like those composed in Illinois and other states such as Maine provide readers with a great service, and they can make all the difference in garnering support for marijuana policy reform.