It’s not just recreational cannabis that Gov. J.B. Pritzker will be considering, he’ll also have a measure on his desk to make Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program permanent.
There was broad bipartisan support to make Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program permanent, thanks to the success stories of those suffering debilitating conditions finding relief with the medicine.
Senate Bill 2023 makes the pilot program that’s set to expire next summer permanent. It also adds Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and physician assistants to the medical professionals who can certify patients and awards the five remaining medical dispensaries with the same equity standards as the recreational cannabis program that passed.
There are 40 conditions already eligible for the medical cannabis program, including from AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, seizures, traumatic brain injuries. State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, said the measure makes additional medical conditions eligible, including autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence syndrome.
Morgan said the measure protects and stabilizes the medical cannabis program.
The bill found broad bipartisan support when it passed the Senate 52 to 2 and the House 98 to 3. It next goes to the governor.
State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, said his mother isn’t well.
“She suffers from a variety of conditions,” Carroll said. “She was addicted to many opiates over the years and then she discovered medical cannabis and I have my mother back now.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said he opposed the pilot program at first. However, after hearing the success stories of medical cannabis helping people with debilitating conditions, he said he's come full circle.
“This product, it has brought them comfort and the ability to have a healthful and full life,” Durkin said.
Durkin said he’s convinced the program is worthwhile and administered in a professional manner.
The full list of qualifying medical conditions under the existing program:
Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome Type II)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Residual limb pain
Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
Spinal cord injury is damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
Traumatic brain injury
Senate Bill 2023 adds autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease, and superior canal dehiscence syndrome.