Illinois Medical Cannabis Board Approves New Health Conditions

May 2, 2016

An advisory board voted Monday to make a number of additional health conditions eligible for Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program. But Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has previously rejected the board's recommendations.

Credit flickr/eggrole

Board members re-approved conditions like post traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, both of which Rauner shot down in January.

They also voted to allow people with diabetes and panic disorder to able to legally use medical marijuana. But board members doubt any of those diseases will become part of the program.

Board chairwoman Leslie Mendoza Temple, who is a primary care doctor, said it's hard to get top quality research on medical cannabis because it's an illegal drug. She said the Rauner administration's standards on approving the conditions are too strict.

"Pharmaceutical medications often have randomized controlled trials, so if we put medical cannabis research requirements at that level, of FDA drug approval status, we're never going to get there," she said.

The governor's office has said not enough time has passed to fully evaluate it.

Joseph Wright, who directs the pilot program, said he doesn't think that position has changed.

"I don't have a crystal ball into when or how conditions will be added," he said. "There's two methods and you all know one of them is through this board, another is through the legislature."

A decision by Rauner is expected by July. The pilot program started in 2013, but sales didn't start until late last year.