Morgan Legislation to Improve and Reauthorize Illinois Medical Cannabis Program passes House
Legislation would stabilize the program to improve the quality of care and access for patients
SPRINGFIELD, IL- Today, The Illinois House passed SB 2023 on a bipartisan 98-3 vote. SB 2023 removes the July 1, 2020 sunset to the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (Pilot Program) and adds several measures to improve the program for patients. The Pilot Program allowed the use of cannabis for a limited number of debilitating medical issues and would be automatically ended without Rep. Morgan’s re-authorization bill.
“It is critical for the state that the pilot program be reauthorized and revised. The initial program placed a significant regulatory burden on patients. With the passage of SB2023, the new program will streamline the process and help patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions,” said Representative Morgan.
The new legislation would add qualifying medical conditions that were previously approved by the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. Those conditions are autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Neuro-Behcet’s Autoimmune Disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease, superior canal dehiscence syndrome.
SB 2023 allows for advanced practice nurses and physician assistants to recommend medical cannabis as an option for new patients in addition to physicians. The bill also increases the number of caregivers (up to 3) that patients can designate to help them access the medical cannabis program, particularly helping children and senior patients.
“The patient and veteran community is looking forward to changes that will strengthen the program and ensure continued access to this vital treatment option,” said Sandy and Jim Champion, cannabis patient and veteran advocates.
While the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program has been lauded as a model for effective regulation, it is clear that a lack of equal opportunity is a weakness in the current cannabis industry in Illinois. SB 2023 takes steps to address inequities by including the same social equity standards that will be enforced under the adult use legislation that will come into effect in 2020. The 5 remaining dispensary licenses will be awarded with social equity being a significant factor.
“The first five years of this important program have provided valuable patient feedback. This legislation will address many of these patients’ concerns and will ensure the program can support patients with lifelong illnesses,” said Representative Morgan. “As Illinois legalizes the use of recreational cannabis, it is important to maintain a strong program that is focused on helping people with serious illnesses find relief,”