Photo by Prensa 420 Photo Collective
There’s some good news for residents of Illinois who are suffering from an illness or experiencing unpleasant or life-threatening symptoms not yet listed as one of the approved conditions to qualify for medical cannabis. The Illinois Department of Public Health is now accepting applications to add more medical illnesses to their statewide pilot program to increase the healing reach of cannabis and improve the quality of life for the afflicted.
A blank petition has been posted to the department’s website, which can be downloaded by residents. Each petition can only include a single condition and applications are currently being accepted until Jan. 31. There will be an additional period open for submissions for the month of July.
The document asks whomever is filling it out to describe how the symptoms from the illness and the treatment impair their quality of life. They must also list other “conventional” treatments that they could employ. Lastly, applicants have the responsibility for providing evidence of the proposed benefits of cannabis specific to their condition. Acceptable forms of evidential proof include but are not limited to peer-reviewed published journals or other completed medical studies. They can also submit letters from physicians and other licensed health care providers to support their petition.
Although the state’s medical marijuana pilot program took effect more than a year ago in early 2014 and about 600 residents have been accepted into the program, patients haven’t received any cannabis. The state has also failed to license any cultivators, distributors or dispensaries even though the program was supposed to begin before the end of 2014. The hold up seems to be in exactly how to go about enforcing regulations.
“I am working on that, our agencies are working on that as required by law,” said Gov. Pat Quinn. “But they have to do it right. It’s a complicated matter.”
While some blame state officials for the delay, others like Dan Linn, condemn the policies. The director of the Illinois chapter of NORML notes that if the current regulations allowed patients to grow their own cannabis at home, they’d already have access to their medicine.
There are currently 30 accepted debilitating medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, cancer, glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis. Other potential conditions could include post-traumatic stress syndrome and severe or chronic pain.
Do you have a condition that cannabis could help with? Share with us in the comments.