Rauner said marijuana has changed dramatically over the years.
“It’s not what it used to be 20, 30, 40 years ago. It’s a very potent, very dangerous drug. I think we should watch, take our time, and not rush into changes that could impact the quality of life for many Illinoisans,” the governor said.
That attitude may explain why the governor and his Department of Public Health have been dragging their feet on medical marijuana.
* From a MoveOn.org petition…
Tell Gov. Rauner, drop the appeal & allow medication access.
Petition by Rep. Kelly Cassidy & Sen. Heather Steans
To be delivered to Governor Bruce Rauner
The Court has ordered the Rauner administration to add chronic pain to the list of conditions in the Illinois medical cannabis program. The administration has promised to appeal rather than allow people in pain access to medication safer than addictive opioids.
If the administration won’t show compassion and allow people access to safer pain relief, the General Assembly needs to. Is it a good use of state resources to appeal the court’s decision on including chronic pain in the medical cannabis program? Tell Governor Rauner to drop the appeal and allow pain patients access to the medical cannabis program.
* Press release…
Given a choice between showing compassion for those suffering from chronic pain or pursuing a costly legal battle, the Rauner administration should choose compassion, Senator Heather Steans said today.
Steans (D-Chicago) called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to expand access to Illinois’ medical marijuana program by adding intractable pain to the qualifying condition list rather than appeal a judge’s order that the condition be added.
Intractable pain is a severe form of chronic pain that is constant and incurable. It can be resistant to treatment, but some patients can benefit from using medical cannabis.
“Gov. Rauner needs to drop the appeal and allow patients with intractable pain to have access to medical cannabis,” Steans said. “Patients should have an alternative to opioids that doesn’t force them to turn to the black market for medicine.”
A patient with intractable pain recently sued the Illinois Department of Public Health over rejecting her petition to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. A Cook County judge ordered the IDPH director to add it to the list last week.
“It’s time for the governor to show some compassion for Illinoisans who are suffering from severe, life-altering pain and allow them to access medical cannabis for relief,” Steans said.
* In other news…
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Monday pointed to Northwestern University students in Evanston smoking weed with impunity as an example of the racial disparities in enforcement associated with the drug.
While addressing an Illinois House-Senate committee tasked with reviewing the implications of legalizing marijuana in Illinois — Preckwinkle is for it, by the way — she told a quick anecdote about her daughter, Jen, visiting a friend who attends Northwestern.
“My youngest, who is college aged, went to visit one of her friends up at Northwestern and she came back and she said, ‘Mom, you won’t believe it. The kids walk up and down the streets smoking dope, and nobody says anything.’
“I said: ‘Yes, Jen,’” Preckwinkle recalled in an exhausted voice.
“And then she said, ‘You know, if my friends and I did this in our neighborhood we’d be arrested.’”
“I said: ‘Yes, Jen.’”
The Preckwinkles live in the Kenwood neighborhood.