cook county

Illinois: Judge Orders State To Authorize Medical Marijuana For PTSD

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that Illinois must add post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.

The ruling may be rendered moot, as legislation is pending that would do the same thing. Gov. Bruce Rauner's office had indicated he will sign it, after previously blocking expansion of the program.

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 Health Director Nirav Shah for failing to follow the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

The judge gave the state 30 days to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions, and scheduled a follow-up hearing to ensure compliance.

The case was filed by Daniel Paul Jabs, a military veteran with PTSD.

Attorney Michael Goldberg, who handled the case, said he hoped the other conditions would be added on the same basis.

"This judge… stepped in to protect (Jabs') health, safety and welfare," Goldberg said, "The judiciary seems to be sending a message to the executive branch."

Illinois: CEO In Medical Marijuana Dispute With State Dies Unexpectedly

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The chief executive officer of a medical marijuana company fighting in court with the state of Illinois has died unexpectedly.

Andrew James, 51, on Thursday was found unresponsive at his home in Kenilworth, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun-Times. An autopsy was inconclusive, the office said on Friday; officials are waiting for more test results.

James, an attorney, was the CEO of PM Rx, a company which had applied for a medical marijuana farming permit in the Kankakee area. When the company lost on its bid, it sued, accusing Illinois of failing to follow its own licensing guidelines when ranking applications for the coveted growing permits, which represent a potentially lucrative source of income.

The closely watched case has resulted in a temporary restraining order preventing the state and permit winner Cresco Labs from going ahead with plans to plant cannabis.

James "was firmly convinced the process was profoundly flawed," said his friend John Stephens, an attorney with Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, who first hired James as an intern in 1988.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Now Legal - But Where Are The Authorizing Physicians?

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Now that medical marijuana has come to Illinois, how can qualified patients get authorized to legally use it? That can be a problem when physicians willing to certify patients for the state's Medical Cannabis Pilot Program are problematically scarce, according to a new study.

In a week-long study conducted by De Paul University students, 294 physician offices were contacted from a list provided on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's physician profile search, and asked whether or not their practitioners would be certifying patients for the medical use of marijuana in Illinois.

The offices ranged from small family practices with only one physician, to large hospitals with hundreds of physicians practicing in one field. The offices were located throughout Illinois including the counties: Cook, Kane, Will, DuPage, Kankakee, Peoria, Sangamon, Winnebago, McHenry, Effingham, Marion, Kendall and Union.

Half of the physicians contacted were primary care physicians, while half were specialists in the fields of gastroenterology, ophthalmology, oncology, neurology, pain management, infectious disease and rheumatology.

Despite the broad variety of physicians contacted as part of the study, the results yielded an overwhelming answer of "NO" to patients seeking medical marijuana recommendations.

Illinois: Elected Officials Say It's Time To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of elected officials at a Monday press conference in downtown Chicago said it's time to legalize marijuana in Illinois.

Four Democrats from the Chicago area held the media event at the Cook County building, calling for the state to immediately decriminalize marijuana, and eventually to legalize its recreational use by adults, reports Brian Slodysko at the Chicago Sun-Times.

"The main difference between the War on Drugs and Prohibition is that, after 40 years, this country still hasn't acknowledged that the War on Drugs is a failure," said Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey.

Chicago-area state representatives Mike Zalewski, Kelly Cassidy and Christian Mitchell appeared at the press conference along with Fritchey.

Illinois law has already changed to allow the medicinal use of cannabis with a doctor's authorization; the state still drafting the rules for its medical marijuana program, described as one of the strictest in the nation.

Backers of the legalization effort cite statistics showing that marijuana prohibition targets racial minorities, because whites are not arrested at the same rates for the same crime.

"Marijuana usage among racial categories is essentially the same," Fritchey said. "The disparity in Chicago and Cook County is overwhelmingly disproportionate toward African-Americans and Latinos being arrested for simple possession."

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