Illinois Panel Again Pushing for MMJ Expansion

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An Illinois panel is recommending that the state add eight new ailments to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, a move that would expand the market for local licensed MMJ businesses.

The Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board formally recommended on Wednesday that the program be expanded to include four separate types of pain as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, autism and osteoarthritis, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The board previously pushed for the addition of 11 new conditions, but the state’s health commissioner shot down the idea.

The administration of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner – which has been reluctant to support the MMJ pilot program at all – said last month that it’s too big a leap to expand the condition list before cannabis even goes on sale. The first dispensaries are expected to open later this month or in November.

If the list is expanded, it could deliver serious relief to MMJ businesses in the state, which could run into significant headwinds because of a low patient count.

The Tribune reported that the number of patients is up to about 3,100 – a fraction of the 100,000 some observers expected to join.

One grower has even taken the step of investing $1 million into a marketing campaign to encourage more patients to sign up.