Currently, Illinois's Medical Marijuana Program is only approved for 37 conditions. The Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health has until the end of Monday to decide whether 11 conditions will be added to the qualifying list.
Staff at Herbal Remedies LLC. in Quincy say this decision could make or break the state program. Manager Andy Schnack says these conditions could finally open up the program to more residents in the state, increasing patient numbers. It's not certain if any or all of these conditions will pass, but Schnack says one in particular is needed.
"PTSD, that one is probably the big one on the list," Schnack said. "I got to work with a lot of veterans in Colorado who suffered from PTSD and they swore it was the only thing that was keeping them alive."
And statistics can echo that. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports 22 veterans committed suicide a day from 1999 to 2000. That's one every 65 minutes.
The advisory board approved the recommendations in May and even if Director Nirav Shaw approves the measures Monday, it will be a long ways before they are officially added to the list. Chris Wildrick with Herbal Remedies LLC. in Quincy says she has only empathy for those with any of the conditions waiting to see what happens.
"They will continue to have to rely on other alternatives," Wildrick said. "Giving them one more option for medicine that will help with their symptoms, that feels like the right thing to do."
If these aren't approved, a separate bill, Senate Bill 33, has been sent to the governor, adding PTSD to the original act. That has yet to be signed by the governor.
The 11 conditions being considered to be added to the qualifying medical conditions include:
-Chronic Post-Operative Pain
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome
-Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease
-Neuropathy, peripheral and diabetic
-Polycystic kidney disease
-Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
-Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome