Illinois House approves to expand Medical Marijuana Program

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 31, 2016.

The Illinois House has approved a measure to expand the state’s medical marijuana pilot program by two-and-a-half years, add more qualifying conditions and make it easier for patients to access medical marijuana.

The lawmakers have passed the measure by 86-27 votes on Monday, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner supports. It is now sent to the Senate, where it’s expected to approve. The new measure adds post-traumatic stress syndrome and terminal illness, with a diagnosis of six months or fewer, to the list of allowed conditions for which a patient can get a medical marijuana card.

The card would be valid for three years, instead of one under the original program. In case of minors, the measure would also allow two parents' names on their card, instead of one. Doctors would only have to certify that a person has a qualifying condition, instead of having to recommend that they use marijuana.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang is the bill sponsor. He says the changes are in the best interest of patients and will help ensure the viability of the program.

The four year long medical marijuana pilot program of the state is set to close at the end of 2017. However, as per the bill, it will continue up to July 1, 2020. Notably, the first medical marijuana sales didn’t occur in the state until November 2015, though the program started in 2014.

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