This week, Illinois governor J.B. Prtizker signed two bills into law that will allow more people in his state to gain medical cannabis access. The new legal framework will also make Illinois’ medical cannabis program permanent.
These Bills Matter
The program was initially supposed to last for a total of six-years but is now enshrined in Illinois law permanently. According to NPR Illinois, “When the law was first signed in 2013, state lawmakers made it a “pilot,” in order to test the concept and work out any bugs.”
However after what has been a largely successful “pilot” phase, the Illinois medical cannabis program is here to stay. This is welcome news to the many patients who have benefitted from having legal medical cannabis access. Nearly as important as the permanence of medical cannabis in Illinois is the addition of 11 new qualifying conditions for potential medical cannabis patients.
Eliminating Barriers To Medication
Another bill signed by Prtizker will make it easier for those who rely on cannabis, specifically school children, to access their medicine. “School children who are registered under the medical cannabis program will also be able to take it at school themselves under supervision of a school nurse or administrator,” NPR Illinois continues.
Children who use medical cannabis have faced many barriers to accessing their medicine. Access to cannabis at schools has been a particularly hot-button issue. Many states still have not legalized the consumption of medical cannabis at schools. While parents will still have to OK the administration of medicinal cannabis, giving nurses the ability to help children medicate with cannabis is a major step towards access to medication.
A Progressive New Administration
Governor Pritzker’s administration has only been in office since January of 2019 but the legalization of cannabis has been a key point of emphasis in that short time. In his election against incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner, Prtizker who is a Democrat, made clear that he would follow the will of the people when it came to cannabis policy.
By enshrining legal medical cannabis access into law, expanding the number of qualifying conditions, and making it easier for children to access the medication they may need, Prtizker has more than kept his word. Many state legislatures are making access to cannabis a priority but Prtizker and Illinois legislature made sure to expedite the process and made giving people access to their medicine a priority.
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Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.