On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzer announced that last week he approved a legislation that seek to make medical marijuana program in Illinois permanent while also adding a list of new qualifying conditions. The latest development comes as the state is preparing to fully legalize cannabis in the next few months.
“The legislation makes adjustments for the lesson that learned since when it started as it brings the program in line with the vision for equity, which is part of my administration’s plan.”
The legislation which began to apply on Friday, allows the residents of Illinois diagnosed with various conditions to access medical cannabis. These conditions include migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, neuropathy, anorexia nervosa, Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence. In addition, assistant physicians and nurse practitioners can now approve eventual patients for the medical cannabis program.
He also signed another bill on Monday that allows administrators or school nurses to issue cannabis products to students registered as medical patients and allows them to take their medicine under the guidance of those officials. When the bill begins to apply at the beginning of the following year, the registered students will be allowed to use during activities which during school-sponsored activities before and after or before school.
Pritzer said that as they go on with the process of reforming the state government in order to enable it serve its families better, they must do it a manner that promotes opportunity, grace, dignity and empathy.
The latest development in schoolchildren protections reinforce a legislation was signed into law last year, which was named for 13-year-old Ashley Surin. Ashley uses medical cannabis to treat epileptic seizures related to a leukemia diagnosis.
As stated by the Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen Surin, Ashley’s mother said that the legislation indicates a positive step forward for pediatric patients who would like to use medical marijuana as well as those who are already using the product in schools based in Illinois.
The recreational weed law supported by Pritzker, which legalizes marijuana 1st January for adults over the age of 21 includes medical patients’ protection. The protection requires dual dispensaries to reserve a stock of medical cannabis that will be sold in times of shortage with the first priority given to medical patients. According to an analysis’s authorized by the lawmakers and performed by the freedman and kiosk, -consulting firm in Colorado- the 20 certified cultivation centers in Illinois may not be able to meet the recreational weed demand of the state.
The number of medical patients in the state could significantly decrease when online sales of recreational marijuana starts, despite the new considerations. According to a research done recently by the Associated Press, this has been the trend in the states that have already permitted recreational marijuana sales. In a matter of years, some of these 10 states have lost more than half of their medical patients.
A report by Marijuana Policy Project shows that recreational users will be paying more taxes as compared to medical patients. Recreational users will be hit with taxes between 20% and 35% while medical marijuana sales are only charged only 1% pharmaceutical tax.
With the recreational pot law, medical patients will enjoy another benefit as they it will allow them to cultivate up to five weed plants at their homes. Initially, the legislators had a plan to allow all the state’s residents to grow their own crops. However, they were forced to scale back the bill due to the concerns of homegrown weed getting into the black market and also pushback from opponents.
Remember in 2013, the former Gov. Pat Quinn passed signed the current medical cannabis pilot program into law and was to expire next year. According to statistics, the sales of medical pot started slow as the then Gov. (Bruce Rauner) had refused to consider expanding the list of qualifying conditions.
However, in 2016 he signed off on an expansion that included post-traumatic stress and terminal illness as qualifying conditions. He later gave the extended program a boost by approving legislation last year that introduced the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program. The program allowed opioid patients to purchase weed easily without being required to submit criminal background checks and fingerprinting.
While signing the bill, Rauner stated that Opioid abuse disorder was destroying and disrupting families across the state and the country