The foliage inside of a commercial cannabis cultivation site in Bellingham, Washington.

Sarah Climaco

Illinois Legislature Considering Bills to Allow MMJ Use for Opioid Dependence and Schoolchildren

The Illinois legislature is considering bills to make two changes to the state’s medical cannabis system – one would allow parents to give their children medical cannabis on school grounds, and another to allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids and allow people addicted to opioids to apply for a medical cannabis card.

The measure to allow medical cannabis for opioid addiction passed the Senate 44-6 on Thursday the Associated Press reports. According to the report, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s spokeswoman Rachel Bold indicated the governor is open to all solutions to help combat the state’s opioid crisis. The measure still needs House approval.

The bill to allow medical cannabis in schools passed the House and next moves to the Senate. In Illinois, smoking medical cannabis is not allowed, so patients rely on edibles, oils, and ointments which would be allowed to be administered by parents on school grounds. Rep. Lou Lang said the measure would prevent children enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program from missing school.

“If we are concerned, not only about their schooling – we don’t want them to be out of school, we don’t want a parent to take a child out of school to get the child medication – so, let the child take it at school.” – Lang to MyStateline

If approved, the changes would be the first significant reforms to the state’s medical cannabis program through the legislature. In February, Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell ruled that the state must add intractable pain to the state program finding that Health Department officials were “clearly erroneous” in rejecting the condition which was approved by the now-defunct Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. That decision is still in appeal.

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