Medical marijuana advocates today called for the governor to support adding new qualifying conditions to the medical cannabis program.
The state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board has recommended adding eight new qualifying conditions to the list of those which can be treated with medical marijuana. Those conditions include autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, chronic pain syndrome, chronic pain due to trauma, chronic post-operative pain, and intractable pain.
Gov. Bruce Rauner had opposed adding PTSD to the qualifying conditions when he vetoed a bill allowing its inclusion in September, arguing it was premature to expand the program before any marijuana had been sold.
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Now that the program is up and running, advocates like Caprice Sweatt of Medical Cannabis Outreach are asking Rauner to reconsider his position.
"We want these conditions approved, No. 1," Sweatt said. "Secondly, we want to know what your time frame is. You keep telling us not enough time has went by to see if it works. We want an actual time frame."
Sweatt was part of a rally at the Capitol ahead of the State of the State address calling on Rauner to support adding new conditions.
The advocates say they are pushing the issue for the sake of veterans, with Iraq War veteran Jonathan Byrne of Cary saying using cannabis for other conditions has helped him cut down on other medications.
"In November, when I got my license for cannabis, since then I've been able to go from 30 pills at the peak of my treatment down to two a day," Byrne said.
A similar effort to add new qualifying conditions was rejected by the Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Nirav Shah last year, though that list was larger, including conditions such as migraines which aren't a part of the current recommendations.