Time is running out for Illinois’s medical cannabis program. A lack of approved patients could push pot businesses to close while the program is just getting started. The problem is that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has only allowed a few illnesses that would be okay under the laws proposed at the time that medical marijuana was allowed in Illinois. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board for the program had advocated that eleven conditions and diseases be added to the list. But in September, IDPH said that it would not add to the list.

The group returned in October with a list of eight conditions that would have a much larger population of patients if they were approved. As a result, the success of businesses would also be ensured. Many chronic pain conditions, such as osteoarthritis, autism, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress syndrome are on the list of the board recommended. With a change of heart, the IDPH stated that it would accept petitions during the month of January.

Those petitioning for more conditions to be added to the list must give a specific conditions and evidence as to why medical marijuana would help this conditions. 18,000 plus people have signed a petition online asking for more conditions to be added to the list. Here is a look at the evidence some have provided:

“I’m signing because I’m a 30+ year military veteran with severe osteoarthritis, IBS, and several other of the illnesses listed here. My doctors recommended, and I have tried and found relief in medical marijuana. I proudly served my country and the communities I’ve lived in my entire adult life.  I’m simply looking for a better quality of life.”– Ron L., Dahinda

“My uncle, a Vietnam War veteran with PTSD, is a changed man since beginning to use cannabis about two years ago. By reducing counseling costs, completely eliminating his dependence on pharmaceuticals for anxiety and insomnia, and enabling him to work full-time without absenteeism, medical cannabis is benefiting not only him but the community and society as a whole. This use of cannabis should be enshrined in law as soon as possible.” — Christopher S., Charleston

“Osteoarthritis is destroying my quality of life, and I am unable to take any of the commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals for the pain. In addition, a number of them were taken off the market due to dangerous side effects.” –  Green C., Glenview

“I am Veteran with PTSD and arthritis and chronic pain from injuries from my service. I don’t want to be a criminal to have relief. ” – Richard B., Rock Island

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