Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker officially signed Senate Bill 2023 and Senate Bill 455 into law, which will allow for expansion of the medical cannabis program’s qualifying conditions.
According to Rockford Registar Star, chronic pain, migraines and autism have just been added to the list under SB-2023, bringing the total to 11 new medical conditions. Additionally, doctors are no longer the only health professionals who can prescribe medical cannabis. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can now also certify patients for the program.
So far, since the medical cannabis program went into effect in 2014, 80,035 patients have been approved to enroll in the program. “Adding options like chronic pain and autism to the list of qualifying conditions will give potential relief to so many more people who have struggled with traditional medications, and making the medical program permanent will ensure patients have access to alternative pain relief for decades to come,” HCI Chief Retail Officer Kim Kiefer said in a news release.
In addition to SB-2023, SB-455 allows students to self-administer medical cannabis under the direction of the school nurse or another professional who has permission from the parents. Prior to this, parents had to travel to their child’s school daily in order to administer medical cannabis.
One example of how this can help parents lies with the plight of one middle school-aged girl who is allowed to have a school nurse administer a cannabis topical, rather than her parents, thanks to a federal judge ruling. Now that SB-455 has been signed, this will ensure that this particular student is able to continue treatment into her high school education as well.
These new bills are meant to stabilize the medical cannabis program as the state gears up for full legalization Jan. 1. Ever since the legalization announcement, Illinois has been taking many positive steps forward. Legislators have already launched a program where patients can get medical cannabis instead of opiates, and industrial hemp was legalized last year. The state is poised for a successful relationship with legal cannabis starting in 2020.