Cook County, Illinois Judge Raymond Mitchell has ordered the state Department of Health to add intractable pain to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying condition list, the Chicago Tribune reports. Despite the ruling, pain patients will continue waiting to access the program as the judge has allowed the change to be stalled while the state appeals.
The suit was brought by Rolling Hills resident Ann Mednick, who suffers from osteoarthritis and has been taking opioid pain medication to deal with the pain from the condition. Illinois’ medical cannabis regime does permit patients with rheumatoid arthritis but not osteoarthritis. The Health Department Director Dr. Nirav Shah declined to add intractable pain to the program last March, despite a 10-0 January 2016 vote in favor of the move by the now-defunct Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
Mitchell ruled that Shah’s decision was “clearly erroneous.”
“The record shows that individuals with intractable pain would benefit from the medical use of cannabis.” – Mitchell, in the decision
This isn’t the first time a court has forced the agency to add a condition to the medical cannabis qualifying condition list. In September 2016 Cook County Judge Neil Cohen ordered officials to add post-operative chronic pain to the list, and in June of that same year Cohen ordered Shah to add post-traumatic stress disorder.