Chronic Pain Added to List Eligible for Medical Marijuana

Sep 22, 2016

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.

Plaintiffs' Attorney Michael Goldberg says Shah and the Department of Public Health was trying to change the rules for deciding what conditions qualify for medical marijuana quote 'mid-stream':
"There was one set of rules that had applied when it denied the conditions, and now that we're on appeal, they wanted to come to the judge, and say 'we have new rules' - and the judge says no, you can't change the rules in the middle, you have to use the same rules that you applied when you told these people when they could have their hearing."
Shah formerly rejected chronic pain as a qualifying condition despite a recommendation from the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. Goldberg says the case was continued to November 3rd, to ensure Shah has either complied with the order, or to explain why he hasn't.

Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold says the department is reviewing the judge's ruling, and consulting with the state Attorney General's office.

The judge's action Wednesday comes in response to a series of lawsuits to expand the list of conditions for medical cannabis treatment in Illinois. Other pending lawsuits promote autism and osteoarthritis as symptoms for which medical marijuana would be allowed.