A Cook County judge ruled Tuesday that the state must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. The ruling may be rendered moot by pending legislation that would do the same thing. Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office had indicated he will sign it, after previously blocking the expansion of the medical marijuana program. The court ruling is potentially significant because there are pending lawsuits seeking to add seven other conditions to the list, including cases involving chronic pain and osteoarthritis that are before the same judge.
“The Director’s legal duty was to review the evidence, review the advisory board’s recommendations based thereon and render a final decision accepting or denying the proposal,” the judge wrote.
“Instead, Director Shah engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view and more importantly, hidden from the parties, and arrived at his conclusion based thereon. This process was constitutionally inappropriate.”
The judge gave the state 30 days to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions and scheduled a follow-up hearing to ensure compliance.
A spokeswoman for the department of health said only that officials were reviewing the order. The case was filed by Daniel Paul Jabs, identified in the case as a military veteran with PTSD. Attorney Michael Goldberg, who handled the case, said it doesn’t set a binding legal precedent but hoped that the other conditions also would be added on the same basis.
“This judge stepped in to protect health, safety and welfare,” Goldberg said.
“The judiciary seems to be sending a message to the executive branch.”
The bill awaiting the governor’s signature would extend the state’s medical cannabis program until July 2020. The law specifies about 40 medical conditions for which patients can get medical marijuana, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease.