A county judge in the Chicago area has ordered that the Illinois Department of Health add post-operative chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions for residents who want to obtain medical marijuana, a move that could bring in more patients to the state’s MMJ program.
Cook County Judge Neil Cohen ordered the agency’s director – Dr. Nirav Shah, who has repeatedly ignored recommendations to expand the MMJ qualifying condition list – to add post-operative chronic pain within 30 days. Cohen also scheduled a follow-up hearing on Nov. 3 “to ensure the director’s compliance with this order,” a Chicago NBC affiliate reported.
This is the second time Judge Cohen has ordered Shah to expand the list, following another similar order in June to add post-traumatic stress disorder.
A department of health spokeswoman said in a statement the agency is “reviewing the judge’s ruling and is consulting with the Office of the Attorney General.”
The expansion is significant for those in the Illinois MMJ trade, mainly because the program has suffered from a lack of patients. Multiple Illinois industry insiders lauded the decision to the NBC affiliate. Any addition to the qualifying condition list could bring in more medical cannabis users, and bolster the overall life of the industry.
As of Sept. 7, there were only 10,033 patients registered in the state, though roughly 12,400 have submitted applications.