Illinois Medical Cannabis Program Expansion Recommended

Medical marijuana - Illinois
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Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended a dozen conditions be added to the state’s pilot program; including Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder.

While it’s good news for patients suffering from these conditions, the Board isn’t confident all or any of the recommendations will be accepted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Ten of the conditions have been previously recommended (in late January) and ignored. Those conditions are: autism, chronic pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), neuropathy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain due to trauma, chronic post-operative pain, intractable pain, migraine headaches and osteoarthritis.

The resistance to add more conditions has been blamed on Governor Bruce Rauner; who inherited the program from his predecessor. The current Governor appears to be more interested in seeing further study of the benefits and “risks” associated with medicinal marijuana than progressing the scheme says the Chicago Tribune.

That said, the existing 39 eligible medical conditions covered under the program make it one of the more accommodating schemes in the USA.

Patients registered under Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Pilot Program began purchasing medications in November last year.  Patients are permitted to purchase two and a half ounces of cannabis per 14-day period. 36 dispensaries have been licensed to operate within the state.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported last week it had approved applications for 6,200 qualifying patients since it began accepting applications for the program in 2014. Of those 6,200, 45 applicants were under 18 years of age. All told, around 8,100 individuals have submitted a complete application to IDPH.

Earlier this year, Illinois’ medical cannabis industry said it needs far more patients for it to survive, let alone flourish – raising fears the program has been set up to fail under the influence of Governor Rauner.

However, the Illinois medical marijuana industry saw $2.2 million in retail sales during April according to this report, the largest monthly sales figure to date.

Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board consists of 16 members appointed by the Governor. It includes one medical cannabis patient, a parent or designated caregiver of a medical cannabis patient under age 18, two nurses or nurse practitioners working in the field; three registered qualifying patients and nine registered healthcare practitioners.