Illinois State-Appointed MMJ Board Slams Governor Rauner

The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory board has once again recommended expanding the state's medical marijuana program, but cautioned that Governor Bruce Rauner would be reluctant to approve its recommendations.

The board suggested adding Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder to the state's list of qualifying conditions, along with 10 other ailments, reports the Chicago Tribune.  Those other ailments, which include osteoarthritis, PTSD and autism, have been previously recommended by the board and rejected by the governor.

Members of the board include doctors, nurses, patients and caregivers, who all must be appointed by the governor. But most of the board members were appointed before Rauner took office, and he has repeatedly ignored its suggestions. He also previously vetoed a bill that would've added PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions through legislative action. 

Rauner has called for further study before expanding access, but board chairwoman Leslie Mendoza Temple has said that the governor's standards are too strict, given the difficulties in studying a Schedule I drug.

"Pharmaceutical medications often have randomized controlled trials, so if we put medical cannabis research requirements at that level, of FDA drug approval status, we're never going to get there," Temple, who is also a primary care doctor, told WUIS.

The board evaluates conditions based on medical evidence, patient testimony, and the precedents of other MMJ states.  

At the public hearing on Monday, supporters celebrated the diabetes recommendation. But Temple cautioned: "We don't get everything that we want on this board anyway, several times over."

There are currently 37 conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana in the state. Rauner will decide on whether to approve the new recommendations by July. But if his record is any indication, patients probably shouldn’t get their hopes up.  

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