Illinois governor signs medical marijuana expansion

Gov. Pat Quinn signing an expansion of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act to cover adults and children who suffer from seizures (photo courtesy Gov. Quinn's Facebook fan page)
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Governor Pat Quinn Sunday signed legislation to add the treatment of adults and children with seizures to the state’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.

“This new law will help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state,” said Governor Quinn (D-Ill.). “Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures. The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act is now designed to help our fellow citizens of all ages by allowing its strictly controlled use for specific medical conditions.”

The bill amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act to allow children under 18 - with a parent’s consent - to be treated with non-smokable forms of medical marijuana for the same range of conditions now available to adults. The bill also adds seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, to the list of debilitating medical conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will create rules for the treatment of children using medical marijuana. The legislation is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, which Governor Quinn signed into law in 2013, includes some of the nation’s strongest restrictions on the cultivation, dispensing and use of medical marijuana. Scientific evidence has found that medical cannabis can provide relief from continual pain, nausea and discomfort for patients suffering from serious ailments, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and HIV.