Medical Marijuana

An Illinois House panel has endorsed a proposal expanding the use of medical marijuana to fight the state's opioid crisis.

Flickr Creative Commons/Neeta Lind

A new study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston finds that while nearly half of all U.S. oncologists recommend medical marijuana, most feel they lack knowledge about its medicinal use.

That means many cancer patients -- like Springfield resident Larry Lenkart  -- must use trial-and-error to figure out how to use cannabis to manage the side effects of chemotherapy.

An Illinois Senate bill that would expand the use of medical marijuana in order to combat the state's opioid crisis has been referred to the Illinois House Rules Committee.

Kids who are prescribed medical marijuana might be allowed to use the drug on school grounds under an Illinois proposal. The legislation would allow parents to give cannabis medication to those kids if and when they need it.

Representative Lou Lang, a Democrat from Skokie, says about 250 kids around the state use cannabis-oil patches to treat a range of conditions from epilepsy to cancer. Although medical marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2013, Lang says the drug is still banned in schools no matter what.

Neeta Lind / Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

A judge has ordered the state of Illinois to expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use to include intractable pain.

 The order issued Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell seeks to overturn a decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health rejecting pain that's resistant to treatment as a qualifier for medical marijuana use. 

The Illinois attorney general's office has told a federal court it will allow a suburban Chicago school district to administer medical marijuana to an 11-year-old leukemia patient to treat her for seizure disorders. 

Illinois could see changes this year that expand access to medical marijuana, as operators say the number of patients allowed to buy the drug is too low to recoup investments.

Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Radio

Medical marijuana has now been available in Illinois for about 18 months. But many around the state, particularly in Southern Illinois, say they can't find a doctor in their area to help them. A few groups have found a way to change that -- they're now bringing doctors directly to the patients with qualifying conditions. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Yutaka Seki

Some Illinois doctors are traveling to Springfield to help residents enroll in the state's medical marijuana program.  Medical marijuana advocates in Illinois say doctors' willingness to help patients remains the biggest hurdle to long-term success for the pilot program. The program's enrollment since fall 2014 stands at 18,300, and the number of potential enrollees is believed to be two to five times higher.

Flickr Creative Commons/Yutaka Seki

Illinois' medical marijuana companies, operating in an industry abounding with rules, now have one less regulation they have to follow.  A federal judge ruled last week that a provision preventing cannabis companies from making campaign contributions in Illinois wasn't constitutional. 

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says he’s frustrated with the Trump Administration’s lack of transparency on medical marijuana.

Frerichs says he’s written the president twice since US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the drug ‘dangerous’… but didn’t further explain if he was referring to medicinal, or recreational use. He says he’s still waiting for a response … and that’s hurting financial institutions, which federal law currently bans from processing money used in the medical cannabis industry:

Flickr Creative Commons/tanjila ahmed

An influential doctors group is beefing up warnings about marijuana's potential harms for teens amid increasingly lax laws and attitudes on pot use.  Dr. Seth Ammerman says that many parents use the drug and think it's OK for their kids, but teen brains are still developing.

Flickr Creative Commons/Neeta Lind

The Illinois treasurer has sent President Donald Trump a letter urging him to give clear guidance to the banking industry about medical marijuana.  State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says Trump's approach will be crucial to the continuing availability of medical marijuana in Illinois.

A doctor involved in an ongoing battle with the state over his certification of patients in Illinois' medical marijuana program is planning to close his clinics in Marion and Orland Park.  Dr. Bodo Schneider announced that he'll close both locations of the Pied Pfeifer Compassionate Care Clinic on Feb. 17.

Flickr Creative Commons/tanjila ahmed

Medical marijuana sales reached more than $4.4 million-dollars in November at licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois, marking another month of steady growth for the year-old industry.  The state released new sales figures for November along with a new tally for how many patients qualify to buy marijuana legally. 

O'Dea / WikiCommons

The public is getting a look inside a medical marijuana dispensary opening next week in East Peoria.

“By normalizing this and opening it up to the community, it allows for physicians to be more comfortable with learning about it,” Ben Rediger, a spokesman for the dispensary NuMed, said.

State regulations specify that medical cannabis dispensaries be open only to registered patients, caregivers and state-credentialed employees. After the facility is licensed by state regulators, the dispensary area is closed to everyone else. 

Mark / Flickr

Illinois is marking its first year of medical marijuana sales as more states voted on Election Day to allow legal use of the drug.

Despite anecdotes of medical marijuana's positive influence on patients, broader data and randomized clinical trials of its use remain very limited.

Illinois is about one year into its experiment with legalized medical marijuana.  One change since the program began is that doctors no longer have to recommend their patient try cannabis.

Medical marijuana sales reached more than $3.8 million last month at licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois.  The state released new monthly sales figures today.  September's sales figures bring the total retail sales in Illinois to $23.5 million since purchasing began in November last year, topping the $20 million mark for the first time.

A cannabis dispensary is using a new tactic nearly a year into Illinois' slow-rollout of a medical marijuana program. The advertising campaign is designed to encourage doctors and patients to view cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

More than 10,000 Illinois residents are certified to use marijuana for medical purposes; Kyla Travis, a Springfield resident who has multiple sclerosis, is one of them.

"I'm almost 60 years old. I was diagnosed when I was 17. So for these many years, they had me on opiates," she says.

A cannabis dispensary is using a new tactic nearly a year into Illinois' slow-rollout of a medical marijuana program.  The advertising campaign is designed to encourage doctors and patients to view cannabis as an alternative to opioids.  

Illinois’ Public Health Director has been ordered to add post-operative chronic pain as a qualifying condition for the state medical marijuana program.  Cook County Circuit Judge Neil Cohen has given Nirav Shah thirty days to act. 

The legalization of Marijuana, for better or worse, was the topic of a community forum Tues. at East Peoria Central Junior High.

About a dozen people attended. Chris Halsor was presenter. He was a Colorado prosecutor for 14 years before he founded the Understanding Legal Marijuana Corporation.

Halsor says for those opposed to the idea the sky is not falling. He says there are positive impacts, like robust job creation. But he says the biggest downside to legalizing marijuana is the juvenile exposure.

Neeta Lind / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois health officials have posted new forms for doctors and patients in the state's medical marijuana program to reflect changes in the law.

The Illinois Department of Public Health posted the updated information on its website Tuesday. The new material includes a form physicians must use to certify that a patient has a qualifying health condition. Doctors no longer need to recommend marijuana, but must certify a patient's diagnosis.

 An updated patient application is available, as is new information on how patients who are terminally ill can apply for a medical marijuana card.

A judge has ordered Illinois health officials to reconsider their decision not to include migraine headaches on the list of conditions that qualify for use of medical marijuana in the state.
 
A Cook County judge overturned Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah's denial of a petition to add migraines to the list.

The court ruling was in response to a suit filed by an unidentified man who has already been using marijuana to treat his headaches. Attorney Robert Bauerschmidt says the middle-aged man has suffered severe migraines since adolescence.

Illinois' experiment with medical marijuana has gotten a boost thanks to a 2 1/2-year pilot program extension and the inclusion of two more medical conditions.  The extension and inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder and some terminal illnesses are part of legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Thursday. 

A Cook County judge has ordered Illinois to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment in a case filed by a military veteran.  Judge Neil Cohen  ordered the Department of Public Health's director to add PTSD within 30 days.  

The Illinois House has approved a plan to expand the state's medical marijuana pilot program by two-and-a-half years and add post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness to the list of allowed conditions.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr/Creative Commons

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois patients who want to use medical marijuana legally will try again to expand the program to include chronic pain, diabetes, migraine and other health conditions. Monday's meeting of the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board could lead to new recommendations, but Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration has twice before rejected the board's suggestions. 

Illinois Democratic lawmakers say a proposal to add warning labels to medical cannabis products is “premature”.

Republican Representative Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon told a House committee today he wants to warn users of serious potential side effects … such as hallucinations, delusions and impaired thinking.

Illinois' medical cannabis pilot program was sponsored by Democrat Representative Lou Lang of Skokie. Lang says he'd rather wait until the pilot program ends in 20-17 rather than pass piecemeal legislation.

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