Jump to content

Il: Rauner To Sign Medical Cannabis Bill

Recommended Posts

Newshawk: Got Bot?! http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/bot
Pubdate: Sun, 05 Jun 2016
Source: Belleville News-Democrat (IL)
Copyright: 2016 Belleville News-Democrat
Contact: letters@bnd.com
Website: http://www.bnd.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1185
Author: Mike Fitzgerald


For months, Illinois' fledgling medical cannabis industry had been
limping along - dogged by uncertainties over its future and hurt by
disappointingly low numbers of patients whose medical conditions
qualified them for state certification cards.

But in the last few days, the clouds of gloom have lifted thanks to a
compromise bill now awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature. The
measure would extend the state medical cannabis pilot program by 2 1/2
years, to July 1, 2020. It would also expand the list of qualifying
conditions, to include post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal
illnesses, potentially adding hundreds of thousands of new patients to
the state registry.

Medical cannabis users, dispensary owners and physicians who were
interviewed agree that the measure, which Rauner has promised to sign,
could be a lifeline for the state's industry, providing it with the
critical base of patients and healthcare personnel necessary for its
long-term future.

For Mike Guess, an Air Force veteran who lives in Shiloh, the bill to
extend the pilot program has brought a great sense of relief.

Guess suffers from fibromylagia, which causes severe nerve pain in his
limbs. He has been using medical cannabis since late January. The
cannabis has been a godsend, allowing him to quit dangerous
anti-depressants and opiate-based pain-killers, Guess said, while
enabling him to sleep soundly through the night.

"Just giving (patients) the option to get off anti-depressants and
anti-anxiety pills who must be on them for PTSD - that's terrific,"
Guess said.

Dr. Greg Randle, a physician who runs a pain clinic in Maryville, said
the inclusion of PTSD will be a boon for military veterans in the area.

"I see a lot of vets with PTSD, and they don't qualify for the
cannabis program because they don't have a severe enough chronic
condition to warrant it," Randle said. "But PTSD can be easily treated
with cannabis. I can get them off some of those anti-anxiety drugs
they're on right now. It's a good thing."

Illinois is joining a growing list of states and medical organizations
that recognize the efficacy of medical cannabis in the treatment of
PTSD, a psychiatric disorder that afflicts an estimated 8 percent of
Americans. It can occur following the experience or witnessing of
life-threatening events such as natural disasters, military combat,
terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault
as an adult or child.

People who suffer PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares
and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping and feel detached or
estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long
enough to significantly impair the person's daily life. Medical
cannabis seems to work because it reduces anxiety and erases the
brain's memory circuits.

Only a few days before Gov. Rauner late last month agreed to the
compromise deal that added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions,
the U.S. Senate and House both approved bills that include amendments
requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to lift restrictions
barring VA doctors from talking about medical marijuana or
recommending it to their patients.

So far, two dozen states and the District of Columbia have adopted
laws to allow medical marijuana to treat conditions including anxiety
and traumatic brain injury. Fourteen of those states allow doctors to
recommend medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

Chris Stone, the chief executive of HCI Alternatives, which runs
dispensaries in Collinsville and Springfield, sees the 2 1/2-year
extension of the pilot program as a signal to customers and investors
regarding the industry's future. The pilot program had been slated to
expire Jan. 1, 2018.

"I think for both it ensures the viability of it," Stone said. "I
think if it ends in 2017, it gets a lot of investors scared. I also
think it gets a fair amount of patients scared to want to use
alternative methods and then pulls the rug out from under them."

As of early May, Illinois had 6,200 qualifying patients, including 45
people under the age of 18, and 8,100 who submitted a complete

Meanwhile, Illinois dispensaries sold nearly $2.3 million worth of
cannabis to more than 5,100 patients during the month of May,
according to program director Joseph Wright.

That figure represents a slight tick upward from April, which totaled
$2.2 million in medical cannabis sales. May's sales figures bring
Illinois' total marijuana sales to $10.8 million since medical sales
began Nov. 9, 2015.

The state has 37 registered dispensaries. Illinois patients are able
to use cannabis for 39 serious and debilitating health conditions.

Here are some other key changes that would happen under the compromise
bill sitting on Rauner's desk:

- Patient and caregiver cards will be valid for three years, instead
of one.

- Upon renewal of patient and caregiver cards, no fingerprinting is

- Doctors will no longer have to recommend cannabis, but may simply
certify that there is a legitimate doctor-patient relationship and
that the patient has a qualifying condition.

Perhaps the most dramatic change in the pilot program has to do with
the way patients get prescriptions. Physicians no longer will be
required to recommend medical marijuana for patients with qualifying
medical conditions - something that 82 percent of doctors in Illinois
have been unwilling to do. Under the new rules, doctors only must
verify their medical relationship with the patient, then confirm the
patient has a qualifying condition or illness. The patient may then
receive certification for a card from the Illinois Department of Health.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I am surprises Rauner® actually is agreeing to sign the 2 year extension. He has said many times he wouldnt. The program is still shite, but I thought they added a couple interesting things.


 Still, 4500 patients in the whole state. They are about 95% behind in numbers if they had passed a workable law like Michigan. Michigan was over 100,000 by this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think its more perplexing that there only being 6200 in the state, dispensaries still pulled in that much money. If every patient bought from them, they would of had to of spent around 350 each.


Isn't that about an ounce each at dispensary prices?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...