With legalized recreational marijuana coming in January, Governor J.B Prtizker expanded the medical marijuana program by signing legislation passed in May yesterday.
Health care officials say the expansion will allow people to use cannabis rather than narcotics to treat chronic pain. The 11 new conditions join the existing 41 qualifying medical conditions under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act. "And I'm proud to say we're putting IL back on the side of patients who are suffering, and the medical professionals who treat them".
Pritzker made the legalization of marijuana one of his key campaign promises in 2018, seeing it as a way to boost the state's general fund revenue while also insisting it would bring social equality to lower income communities that have seen more people arrested for minor drug offenses. The governor said there are a few hundred minors in IL with serious illnesses prescribed medical cannabis.
The law goes into effect next July.
Advance practice nurses and physician's assistants also now have the power to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. It also prevents patient referrals to other health care professionals exclusively for the purposes of certification, prohibits the use and sale of smokable cannabis to persons under age 21 to align the program with the recently passed Tobacco 21 legislation and repeals location restrictions for medical cannabis dispensaries beginning July 1, 2019.