One thing a lot of people might not know about medical marijuana laws is that in a lot of states that have legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, there are still very strict rules about which medical conditions actually qualify.
For example, in the state of New York—where dispensaries just opened for the first time earlier this month—a person must have one of only about 10 or so state-approved health conditions to be able to get legal pot.
Other states, like California, are known for being pretty open and liberal with who can legally access medicinal cannabis. Since pot laws are so heavily dictated by individual states, it’s all about where you happen to live.
In Illinois, things have been moving quickly since the state began selling medical marijuana in November of last year.
And fortunately, things seem to be moving in the direction of opening up restrictions and making cannabis more accessible.
Toward the end of last year, the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that the state add 8 new conditions and diseases to its list of health issues that qualify for medical cannabis.
Now they’re waiting for approval from the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, according to the state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program’s website.
In an attempt to speed up the approval process, a group of doctors and pot advocates called Americans for Safe Access-Illinois just published an open letter urging the state to approve the addition of those 8 new conditions, which include autism, chronic pain syndrome, chronic post-operative pain, chronic pain due to trauma, intractable pain, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and PTSD.
The letter said that “including these serious conditions to the program would provide access to a medicine that is safe, and in many cases more effective than prescription drugs offered today.”
In similarly good news, Illinois began accepting applications from individuals this month who would like to petition to have their health condition added to the Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program.
Hopefully all these efforts will create marijuana laws that are more equitable, open, and accessible, and that help pave the path toward full scale legalization in Illinois and around the country.