Rauner Administration Again Rejects New Marijuana Conditions
Governor Bruce Rauner's administration has again rejected expanding the list of diseases that can be treated with marijuana in Illinois. The Department of Public Health announced the decision Friday, spurning eight recommendations from an expert advisory board.
The panel had recommended post-traumatic stress disorder, which affects many military veterans. Also recommended and rejected Friday were autism, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis and four pain syndromes.
Just days ago, supporters pushing to expand the list protested at the State Capitol. Caprice Sweatt, the CEO and and founder of Medical Cannabis Research, said medical marijuana helps military veterans cope with debilitating symptoms of PTSD.
"We're pleading with the governor to hear our voices, to please approve the eight conditions that are so desperately needed for sick people in Illinois," she said.
The group Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access says 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Patients with about 40 medical conditions can currently apply to legally buy and use cannabis.
It's the second such sweeping rejection from the Republican governor. Rauner in September vetoed legislation that would have added PTSD, and his health chief at that time rejected nearly a dozen conditions the expert panel had recommended.
New conditions would have meant more customers for a struggling industry. Now, just 4,000 Illinois patients can buy medical marijuana legally for conditions that include cancer and multiple sclerosis.