The state of Illinois and its lawmakers want to offer patients medicinal cannabis as an alternative to opioid derived perception pain killers. The new law would allow patients to purchase cannabis from licensed medical dispensaries, removing the required 4 month window for patients to receive a medical marijuana card. The fate of the new legislation now lies in Governor Bruce Rauner’s hands.
Though Governor Rauner has been against pro cannabis legislation in the past, lawmakers are hopeful that he will change his mind since he has recently came out supporting the legal taxation of a recreational cannabis industry. The new law would allow prescribed drugs such as opioids, that have high cases of addiction and overdoes rates, to be replaced with medicinal cannabis which has been gaining acceptance with the medical community as a healthier alternative to the consumption of perception medication. The new law would also end the need for background checks on patients seeking the benefits of medical cannabis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly half a million people in the U.S. died of opioid-related overdoses between 2000 and 2014 and in Illinois, opioid overdoses have been linked to more than 11,000 fatalities since 2008. The National Academies of Science has recently reported that there is hard evidence linking cannabis to the treatment of chronic pain, muscle spasms, and multiple sclerosis.