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Governor Rejects PTSD as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana

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medical marijuana, ptsd, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIllinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently rejected a measure that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD to the list of those which qualify patients to participate in the state's medical marijuana program. The Illinois Department of Public Health, under Rauner's control, separately announced it would not be expanding the program to include ten other conditions, including osteoarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic post-surgical pain. The decisions come despite the recommendation of the state's Medical Cannabis Review Board to include the additional ailments.

Pilot Program Barely Underway

According to the governor's written statement, Rauner is hesitant to add anything or expand the medical marijuana program in any way until it actually gets started. Although the law creating the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program went into effect on January 1, 2014, not a single patient has been able to obtain medical marijuana legally in the state. Months of lawsuits, bureaucratic red tape, and licensing delays, have led to nearly two years of waiting as legal production of marijuana finally began earlier this summer. The first crops are expected to be ready for dispensaries sometime this fall or early next year.

The purpose of pilot program is to study the impact on medical marijuana on both qualifying conditions and the state as a whole. “It is therefore premature to expand the pilot program—before any patient has been served and before we have had the chance to evaluate it,” Rauner wrote to lawmakers.

PTSD and Medical Marijuana

Many veterans groups and legalized-marijuana proponents have expressed disappointment with the governor's decision to exclude PTSD. The timing of the veto, which was announced on September 10, the day before the anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks, seemed to add insult to injury for many veterans. “It is because of 9/11 that many of our veterans and civilians are suffering from PTSD,” said Sandy Champion, wife of Illinois veteran and Medical Cannabis Advisory Board member Jim Champion. “Today, our governor, who is the head of our state, let them down.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates, as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD, along with 15 percent of those who served in Vietnam. PTSD has been approved for medical marijuana treatment in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The VA, however, has not taken official stand on the efficacy of marijuana treatment for the disorder.

While the battle over medical marijuana use continues, marijuana possession without proper registration is still against the law. If you are facing possession charges, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. We will review your case, and help you find a resolution that protects your rights and your future. Call us today to schedule an appointment in one of our two convenient office locations.


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