A new condition has been added to the list of medical marijuana-treated conditions in Illinois. A judge just ordered Post-Operative Chronic Pain to be quickly added to the qualifying conditions. Illinois is one of the few states with a medical marijuana program that doesn’t allow treatment of chronic pain with cannabis.
It was a Cook County Judge, Neil Cohen, that ordered the state to move swiftly in order to get suffering patients the medicine they need. The Department of Health has a month to make it happen, according to court documents. Critics say adding chronic pain to the list is too broad of a condition. Patients and advocates said it’s specifically for post-operative pain and those using cannabis to treat their pain would do so with the recommendation of their doctor, who is putting their license on the line.
It’s not the first time Illinois cannabis patients had to resort to the court to get something commonly treated with medical marijuana on the list of qualifying disorders. Earlier this summer, the same judge pushed the state to place Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the list. The state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board are on board with both conditions being treated with the plant but the Health Department are slow to move and not entirely convinced.
Illinois has a pilot medical program and it’s been going relatively well; so much so that it’ll be extended to the year 2020. The program has been met with overall positive acclaim as improvements and changes continue to roll out. In July, Gov. Rauner decriminalized small amounts of marijuana with the signing of Senate Bill 2228. Those in possession of 10 grams or less will no longer face criminal penalties which used to include fines between $100 and $200 dollars. They are now the 21st state to make the move to decriminalize possession of a small amount of cannabis.
There was no statement from the Governor on the signing of the decriminalization bill. It’s a controversial topic in Illinois, The Cannabist reports that a police chief thinks the change may give more people access to marijuana:
“You’re giving individuals more opportunities for drug usage,” said Laimutis Nargelenas, a former lobbyist for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the current police chief for the Springfield Park District.
You can see a list of Illinois’ other qualifying conditions here. Another hearing is scheduled for November to make certain the Department of Health complied with the court’s ruling.