Thousands urge Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to expand medical marijuana access

Emily Gray Brosious

Illinois medical marijuana advocates deliver 25K signatures to Gov. Rauner calling to expand access
(Photo credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Organizers bring 25K signatures to Illinois’ capitol calling to expand medical cannabis access.

In 2015, the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended adding eight health conditions to the state’s list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions, including osteoarthritis, various types of chronic pain, autism, IBS and PTSD.

This month state health officials are considering whether or not to add new conditions to the medical marijuana program, and organizers are working hard to see the board’s eight recommended conditions included.

Advocates calling to add the eight new conditions brought 25,000 signatures to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office Wednesday ahead of the State of State address, according to The Associated Press.

Medical Cannabis Outreach and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access delivered the signatures to Gov. Rauner and held a demonstration in the state’s capital to drive their message home.

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Another advocacy group, the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois, has also been circulating a petition to add the eight conditions to Illinois’ medical marijuana program, and that petition has received more than 20,000 signatures.

In addition to thousands of signers, numerous commenters — many of them military veterans — expressed powerful reasons for expanding medical marijuana access in Illinois.

“I’m signing because I’m a 30+ year military veteran with severe osteoarthritis, IBS, and several other of the illnesses listed here. My doctors recommended and I have tried and found relief in medical marijuana. I proudly served my country and the communities I’ve lived in my entire adult life.  I’m simply looking for a better quality of life.” — Ron L., Dahinda

Currently 39 serious health conditions qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Illinois. Health officials are expected to make a decision about adding new conditions by the end of January.

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View gallery: 10 powerful testimonies calling to expand medical cannabis access in Illinois

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[h/t Tom Angell]

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