Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Quietly Disbanded
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Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Quietly Disbanded

Details have emerged on a possible deal made to dissolve the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. The deal described as a sell-off by the body’s advocates also aimed to introduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and terminal illness patients as new beneficiaries for a medical marijuana card. Democratic State Representative Lou Lang informed the board of the Governor’s plan to have the committee disbanded after the expiry of a three year grace period.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board was initially created by state law to vet petitions to add new ailments and conditions onto the program’s list. Despite numerous recommendations, Illinois State Department of Public Health has consistently rejected unanimous board decisions; a move that has significantly hampered the MCAB’s effectiveness. Governor Bruce Rauner has come under heavy criticism for the move to disband a committee whose mandate is to conduct public hearings and make recommendations as provided for by Senate Bill 10.

Jim Champion, Leslie Mendoza Temple, and Michael Fine, MCAB’s members are of the opinion that the decision to disband the board was a politically motivated one. Democratic State Representative Lou Lang reiterated that legislative action was the only practical mechanism to add conditions, in the absence of MCAB.  With the current state of affairs, Governor Bruce Rauner’s upcoming re-election bid in November seems highly unlikely to yield any success.

The State of Illinois’ Medical Marijuana bill was aimed at easing the suffering of citizens who would otherwise benefit from Medical Cannabis use. The move to disband MCAB has been viewed as a blatant disregard for the plight of persons suffering debilitating conditions. According to Jim Champion, until a new governor is elected, there is nothing much that can be done.

In 2013, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was signed into law by Governor Patrick Quinn. In the period following the legalization of Medical Marijuana, the retail sales reached a record-setting 67 million USD. Statistics indicate that more than 20,000 qualified patients currently participate in the state’s medical-marijuana program. The former board members, Jim Champion and Michael Fine are both beneficiaries of the Medical Marijuana. More recently, there have been efforts aiming to legalize recreational pot in Illinois in a controlled manner similar to recreational cannabis in California.

Since the disbanding of MCAB, numerous lawsuits have been filed with an aim to introduce postoperative chronic pain, migraines, polycystic kidney disease, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, autism, and intractable pain to the list of conditions that qualify for Medical Marijuana cards. This new development goes on to prove the critical role the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board played.

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