The Illinois Department of Public Health has been ordered by a Cook County Judge to add post-operative chronic pain (CPOP) to its list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions. The Director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Nirav Shah, must add CPOP within 30 days.
An additional hearing to ensure that the condition has been added is scheduled for November 3, according to NBC Chicago. This is the second judicial order in 2016 to add a condition to Illinois’ qualifying conditions list. The first order was for PTSD, which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner.
The medical marijuana community in Illinois has been pushing to have chronic pain added since the beginning of the program.
Tim McGraw of Revolution Labs said, “We’re one of the few states that doesn’t allow for the treatment of pain with cannabis. As far as conditions go, that’s the biggest bucket there is!”
The ruling is a “very large step in the right direction to increase the patient base,” according to Jeremy Unruh, general counsel at Pharmacann dispensaries.
Unruh said, “I think it’s a shame that we’re having to push the governor’s office, particularly the Department of Public Health, into opening these conditions up. I think it’s time that administration sort of understands that the state is supportive of a responsible, measured expansion of the program.”
Chronic pain is often argued for inclusion because it is a broad category, which is why Illinois chose to specifically label the category as post-operative chronic pain instead of just chronic pain, because POCP requires ongoing treatment from a doctor.
Unruh also said, “There is a professional. A licensed professional, who puts his or her license on the line to assert that this particular patient is qualified.”