Rory Savatgy

Illinois Judge Orders Health Department to Add Post-Op Chronic Pain to MMJ List

An Illinois judge has ordered the state Department of Public Health to add post-operative chronic pain to the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions, NBC 5 Chicago reports. This is the second time this year that Cook County Judge Neil Cohen has ordered Director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Nirav Shah, to add a condition to the list — in June, he ordered the Health Department to add post-traumatic stress disorder.

In order to ensure Shah complies with the order, Cohen has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 3.

Both PTSD and post-op chronic pain were recommended for program inclusion by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board; however, the Health Department had failed to add either condition, forcing the matter to be determined in the courts.

Jeremy Unruh, general counsel for PharmaCannis, an Illinois medical marijuana company, said the decision is a “very large step in the right direction to increase the patient base.”

“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,” Unruh said in the report. “I think it’s time that administration sort of understand that the state is supportive of a responsible, measured expansion of this program.”

Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold said that the department is reviewing the ruling and consulting with the Attorney General’s Office.

In addition to the two rulings by Cohen, his Cook County Court colleague, Judge Rita Novak, ordered the director to reconsider adding migraines to the list last July.      

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