Illinois MMJ Businesses Still Facing Obstacle With Reluctant Docs

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A good number of physicians are still balking at recommending medical cannabis for patients in Illinois, which could contribute to an ongoing problem for MMJ businesses in the state: a small customer base.

So far, only about 2,800 patients have registered for the program, which is extremely worrisome to the scores of companies that won licenses to operate dispensaries and cultivation sites in the state.

Some health organizations in Illinois are prohibiting staff doctors from recommending MMJ because it’s still illegal federally, the Associated Press reported. That includes Southern Illinois Healthcare and Southern Illinois University, which have both reportedly banned their physicians from recommending MMJ.

In central and northern Illinois, similar organizations either have taken no official stance or have added hurdles for physicians who do want to recommend MMJ, according to the AP. Northwestern Memorial HealthCare in Chicago, which has 1,500 doctors, requires physicians to deliver additional educational material to potential patients that questions the efficacy of MMJ before certify an individual for cannabis.

That’s only contributing to a problem that several cannabis advocates – including business owners – have been trying to fight for months with public education.

State overseers have played a role in discouraging physicians from utilizing MMJ for patients as well, the AP reported, including “disciplining one doctor for allegedly misleading potential patients by offering pre-approval for (MMJ) and warning other doctors against setting up medical cannabis clinics.”