Once a medical marijuana program is up and running, changes may not be something those running the program are keen on – especially when it would expand their patient base by substantial numbers. Whether the reason for this is a conservative state who wants to keep marijuana use as limited as possible or because they don’t feel they have the resources to keep up with such a vast program, the fact of the matter remains that changes – particularly adding more qualifying conditions – is not an easy task.
In Illinois there are as many as seven lawsuits pending – and one that was decided on this week which was filed by Daniel Paul Jabs, a veteran suffering from PTSD. The lawsuits are all similar, stating that the Department of Public Health was supposed to review information from an advisory board before adding conditions to the list of qualifying conditions for patients in the state of Illinois – but instead, there were many conditions left out.
“The Director’s legal duty was to review the evidence, review the advisory board’s recommendations based thereon and render a final decision accepting or denying the proposal,” the judge wrote. “Instead, Director Shah engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view and more importantly, hidden from the parties, and arrived at his conclusion based thereon. This process was constitutionally inappropriate.”
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen was the one to make the determination, which has led to the state having 30 days to add Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to their list of qualifying conditions. Though this could have happened soon regardless, due to a piece of legislature that circulated and awaits signature, the judges’ decision is still important as the remaining seven other lawsuits involving other conditions will be heard before the same judge.
The legislature, however, would add an additional 40 medical conditions that would allow patients’ access to medical marijuana including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and more. Both the judge’s’ decision – which determines that the DoPH did not do their job as instructed – and the new law that is currently awaiting signature from the Governor – will be a huge step forward for the medical marijuana program in the state of Illinois.