With more judges telling the state to expand Illinois’ Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, the department running it continues to fight back.
A judge ruled earlier this month that Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah must add intractable pain, or pain resistant to treatment, to the list of accepted conditions. This is different than chronic pain, which was ruled to be included in the program but then appealed by the state.
Michael Goldberg with the Chicago-based Goldberg Law Group said the addition should greatly expand the program’s availability, including to those commonly injured on the job.
“It is common in workplace accidents, which can be terrible and cause people to be dependent on opioids for the rest of their lives,” Goldberg said.
The department will appeal this ruling as well.
The process to expand the program via court challenges has been protracted by appeals from the state and subsequent findings that have reinforced Shah’s decision to exclude a condition from the pilot program.
Goldberg said it hasn’t come to it yet, but they could be forced to take more serious measures if the state continues to fight against court rulings.
“At some point, if we have to hold someone in contempt of court or take more dramatic measures, then that’s the only option we’ll have,” he said.
Goldberg’s firm is seeking, via lawsuits, to add eight conditions to the list accepted by the program.
Nearly 30,000 Illinoisans have been issued cards to participate in the pilot program as of December 31, 2017. There are 53 dispensaries across the state. It’s set to expire on July 1, 2020.