This was originally published on Liberal America on June 29, 2016.
A Cook County, Illinois, judge ruled that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) should be added to the list of conditions that qualify to receive medical marijuana. Judge Neil Cohen also said that the state engaged in a private investigation which was “constitutionally inappropriate.”
People can petition the government to get conditions added to the list. They were getting frustrated because Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has denied all of these petitions to get PTSD on the list. There have been several lawsuits filed on the topic.
This lawsuit was filed by an Iraqi War veteran. Judge Cohen ordered that PTSD be added to the list within the next 30 days.
The advisory board voted unanimously to add PTSD to the list, but the Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Nirav Shah, conducted his own investigation, and rejected it because their “standard” of medical evidence said PTSD “appears nowhere in the Act or the Department’s rules.”
Judge Cohen said in the ruling:
“The Director’s legal duty was to review the evidence, review the advisory board’s recommendations based thereon and render a final decision accepting or denying the proposal,” the judge wrote. “Instead, Director Shah engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view and more importantly, hidden from the parties, and arrived at his conclusion based thereon. This process was constitutionally inappropriate.”
The Judge requested a follow-up hearing to make sure they comply. The list currently contains over 40 conditions including cancer, arthritis, or Parkinson’s disease.
Gov. Rauner is not a big fan of the medical marijuana program, but he’s compromised, and the state now has a law for this. They extended the program until 2020.
Also, doctors will no longer have to recommend cannabis, they just have to certify that the patient has a qualifying condition that allows them to purchase it.
They are also changing the procedure to get new conditions added to the list, so hopefully it won’t be so difficult to do this anymore.