A Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that the state must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
The ruling may be rendered moot by pending legislation that would do the same thing. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office had indicated he will sign it, after previously blocking expansion of the medical marijuana program.
The court ruling is potentially significant because there are pending lawsuits seeking to add seven other conditions to the list, including cases involving chronic pain and osteoarthritis that are before the same judge.
In his opinion, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen criticized Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah for failing to follow the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
Illinois law allows people to petition the state to add health conditions to the eligible list, but Rauner’s administration has rejected all new conditions despite the advice of an expert panel that reviewed available medical evidence.
In the case of PTSD, the advisory board voted unanimously to add it, but Shah, a Rauner appointee, conducted his own investigation and rejected PTSD applying a standard of medical evidence that “appears nowhere in the Act or the Department’s rules,” the judge wrote. Shah not only deprived the plaintiff of his right to due process but also “was contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules,” Cohen wrote. […]
Seven other plaintiffs have filed similar lawsuits seeking to add these conditions to the Illinois program: chronic post-operative pain, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, intractable pain and autism. Cohen is the judge in the chronic pain and osteoarthritis cases, while the others are before other judges.