Rauner Reverses Course On Medical Marijuana, Backs Expansion

May 27, 2016
n this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, lead grower Dave Wilson cares for marijuana plants at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

n this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, lead grower Dave Wilson cares for marijuana plants in the "Flower Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

Seth Perlman/Associated Press

Gov. Bruce Rauner has reversed course on broadening Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program and is now supporting a plan to extend it roughly two years and add more qualifying health conditions.

Legislation filed Friday by Deputy House Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) adds post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions, reconstitutes an advisory board and overhauls procedures.

The proposal also extends the sunset to 2020 from 2018.
 
Rauner has previously rejected attempts at expansion. He vetoed legislation adding PTSD. 

"It's a big win," said Urbana resident Dan Jabs, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and suffers from the illness.
 
"Governor Rauner and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin deserve credit for their willingness and commitment to reform and extend Illinois' medical marijuana program," said Lang, in a statement.  "I want to thank them for their cooperation to find a bi-partisan legislative compromise on improving a program designed to ease the pain and suffering of seriously ill individuals, including children."

Rauner's office confirmed his support, but declined to comment.

Democratic former Gov. Pat Quinn signed the program into law in 2013. The first sales were last year.

Story source: AP