Governor Approval Awaited For Medical Marijuana Program Extension

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Governor Approval Awaited For Medical Marijuana Program Extension

A bill that entails extension of termination period of the medical cannabis pilot program in Illinois has been sanctioned by lawmakers. The bill, which will extend the medical marijuana program by two years, is waiting to be approved by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. Senate Bill 10 will also expand the scope of illnesses that will now be eligible for gaining access to medical marijuana.

The new conditions to be included in the acceptance range of medical marijuana are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness. Republican Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who was the co-sponsor of the bill, was also the one who instigated House Bill 1, which led to the establishment of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program in 2013. During its initial sanction, the program involved a ‘sunset provision’, a section that entailed termination of the program on January 1, 2018.

The new bill will give the program an extension of two and a half years. Subsequent to being passed, the new bill will put the new expiration date of the program to July 1, 2020. A time period of 60 days has been allotted to Gov. Rauner for signing the bill, beyond which the bill will assume the position of law without his signature. Rep. Lang has revealed that the governor has already decided to sign House Bill 1.

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Lang also expressed gratitude towards Governor Rauner and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin for their enthusiasm and assurance for improvement and extension of medical marijuana program in the state. “I want to thank them for their cooperation to find a bi-partisan legislative compromise on improving a program designed to ease the pain and suffering of seriously ill individuals, including children”, said Lang. It was necessary to extend the program for patient protection since the program stared on a slow pace and its deployment got delayed by more than a year.

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