Reluctance to Prescribe Contributing to Small IL MMJ Patient Pool?

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The small but slowly growing patient base in Illinois’ medical marijuana program has some businesses concerned, and apparently reluctance on the part of physicians to prescribe MMJ may be partly to blame for the situation.

Despite possibly tens of thousands of potential MMJ patients, a CBS affiliate in Chicago is reporting that hundreds have tried to get recommendations from their doctors for cannabis, only to be turned away.

One example: Out of 1,300 patients seen by Good Intentions, an Illinois MMJ patient consulting services company, roughly 900 have doctors who flat-out refused to write recommendations for medical cannabis.

One prospective patient told CBS that his doctor replied that “it wasn’t even possible.”

Thus far, despite expectations from within the industry that upwards of 100,000 patients would sign up for the program, there has been very low registration with only about 1,600 approved patients, out of 2,500 that have applied. One cultivator even relinquished a hard-won license, citing concerns about the viability of the market given the sign-up rates.

William McDade, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, told CBS that problem could be multi-faceted.

Some doctors, he suggested, may be worried about patients abusing cannabis. Others may just be ignorant of its value to those with particular ailments, such as multiple sclerosis. Or, he said, maybe the doctors just prefer going with more traditional treatments.

Growth in patient counts has accelerated substantially in March, however, with reason to hope the trend could be turning.