Frustration Mounting For Medical Cannabis Board Chair

October 12, 2015
 
In this Sept. 15 photo, marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are a few weeks away from harvest in the "Flower Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

In this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 photo, marijuana plants with their buds covered in white crystals called trichomes, are a few weeks away from harvest in the "Flower Room" at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill.

Seth Perlman/AP

The chair of Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Advisory Board isn’t holding out a lot of hope for some conditions to be approved for treatment with the drug, even after endorsing them a second time.

The list of eight recommended in the panel’s meeting last week included post-traumatic stress disorder and osteoarthritis.

Weeks before, Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah rejected those conditions, and nine others, while Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill supporting cannabis treatment for PTSD. 

He said the costs and benefits of a pilot medical cannabis program needed further evaluation once the product first became available.   

Board Chair Leslie Mendoza Temple said the ‘summary blanket veto’ makes her wonder if the group should meet at all.  She also wants further feedback from the governor, but knows the final call is out of her hands.

“We just do what we’re charged to do, we vet the conditions, we have a thoughtful discussion about it, we weigh the pros and cons, we listen to petitions, and we make a decision as a board," Temple said.  "That’s what we’re going to do.  What I can’t say is, 'what are the politics and the social agenda behind any of the approvals and rejections that we’re going to get?"

The advisory board also recommended some new conditions, including autism and chronic pain syndrome.

The panel won’t meet again until May.  Temple said she expects most Illinois dispensaries will be operating by January. 

The governor’s office declined to comment on a timetable for ruling on the latest recommendations.

Story source: WILL