Despite Staggering Public Support for Medical Pot, Illinois Lawmakers Continue to Restrict Usage

Exceeding national polls, a staggering 80 percent of Illinois voters said that they support allowing patients to use medical marijuana as recommended by a doctor, according to a Harper Polling survey.

The poll, conducted January last week for the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois (MCAI), surveyed 800 likely voters of all races, political parties and groups, as well as urban and suburban dwellers.

Nearly 75 percent of those asked said the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh any potential risks.

“The message that Illinois supports the medical cannabis program is clear,” said Tim McGraw, MCAI co-founder and director.

Close to 70 percent of poll participants said they believe Illinois’ existing MMJ pilot program—currently limited to only a few diseases—should be expanded, specifically to include veterans suffering from PTSD.

Illinois’ official Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended last October that eight debilitating conditions including PTSD, autism, several chronic pain syndromes, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome be added to the MMJ registry. These conditions, however, must be approved by Illinois’ Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, before the February 1 deadline.

Illinois’ MMJ pilot program, launched last November, is one of the most restrictive in the country.

MCAI officials are hoping this bipartisan poll will show that Illinois residents overwhelmingly support giving a broader range of patients more access to medical pot.

“The Rauner administration and lawmakers throughout the state must follow the will of the people and leave the decision on whether medical cannabis is a suitable treatment between the patient and their physician,” McGraw said upon release of the first-of-its-kind poll results.

Ross Morreale, MCAI chairman, pointed to the country’s staggering opiate crisis as an urgent reason for Governor Rauner and Illinois lawmakers to allow for the expansion of the pilot medical marijuana program.

“Nationally, 44 people die from prescription drug overdose everyday, and patients should have the opportunity to use medical cannabis instead of highly addictive and dangerous prescription drugs,” Morreale said.

(Image Courtesy of #illegallyhealed)

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