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THE NEWS CLIP

Medical pot being sold in Illinois, but not yet in Will County

 

Update on Medical Marijuana Program

 

Cannabis pilot program begins accepting patient, business applications

 

Illinois patients to docs: 'What about marijuana?'

 

Plainfield moves ahead on allowing medical marijuana

 

Despite legalization, not much known about marijuana's effects

 

Access to medical marijuana may take longer than planned

 

Govenor signs bill to make medical marijuana legal

 

It could be next fall before first pot clinics open

 

Governor Pat Quinn signs bill making medical marijuana legal in Illinois

 

Chronic Relief: A look into the risks, rewards and laws of medicinal cannabis

 

State cannabis program has some unsure about its future

With a governor who doesn’t support the program and the state budget crisis blotting out attention for little else she fears that the few patients who have passed all of the strict regulations will end up losing their access at the end of next year. That will put them back in the same position they were in before.

“They’ll keep getting it on the black market,” said Loncar.

Patients living In Will County are just beginning to see more nearby dispensaries open around Joliet and in other nearby communities.

3C Compassionate Care, 1627 Rock Creek Blvd. first opened its doors at the beginning of December. Another Will County location in Romeoville, Midwest Compassion Centers, has been approved to operate in the village’s Marquette business park but so far has not received a state license or announced an opening date.

Loncar believes that the process for licensing the cultivation and dispensaries was rife with corruption that allowed a few companies and well-connected individuals to dominate the limited market. Recent stories about the limited pool of customers for dispensaries miss the point she said.

“They’re not really focusing on the patients,” she said. “I’m an advocate who works really hard to get patients safe access.”

Loncar believes that Governor Rauner will review the program at the end of the trial period and will decide not to renew it despite what she expects will be well-funded lobbying from the medical cannabis industry. She said Rauner’s personal wealth is an asset in that regard.

“I’m glad that this governor can’t be bought,” she said.

“All of these people that are in the [medical cannabis] industry that are so greedy to think that this was going to be a gold mine didn’t focus on the patients,” she said, “They just saw the money.”

 

DeKalb forum addresses medical marijuana

DeKALB – Jessica Woollcombe said when she’s smoked marijuana in the past, she’s been able to walk and not rely on the crutches or wheelchair that multiple sclerosis confined her to.

“Nothing below my waist does anything,” Woollcombe said. “In the past, I would smoke a little bit, and I could walk. It’s that drastic of a difference to me.”

Woollcombe, who lives in DeKalb, attended a forum Thursday night hosted at WNIJ titled “Context: Medical Marijuana and Illinois,” which brought panelists from across the state to DeKalb to answer questions or clear up confusion about Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program.

“It’s really hard to find the information online, because most of what you find is press releases or advertisements that help you get in touch with dispensaries or wants to sell you bongs,” Woollcombe said. “It’s hard to find solid information.”

The panel consisted of John and Christina Leja of PharmaCann LLC; Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois Chapter to Reform Marijuana Laws; and Bradley Vallerius, an attorney and author of the book “Illinois Medical Marijuana Law: A Practical Guide for Everyone.”

Legislators OK’d a pilot medical marijuana program in 2013, but the drug has yet to be sold legally in the state.

“I certainly understand that there are patients in need,” John Leja said. “But ... I think [state officials have] done the right in ensuring the program is successful in [the] long term.”

The state has approved 2,500 medical marijuana patients.

“Months ago, we were seeing patients who were applying taking up to two months to receive the card,” Christina Leja said. “Now, we’re seeing them get cards in two weeks.”

Linn said Illinois has one of the “most restrictive” medical marijuana pilot programs of all the states.

“It is overly burdensome to the patients,” he said. “I think a lot of the problems and restrictions were put in place as part of the political process.”
Carole Minor of DeKalb attended because she said she has a friend with lung and brain cancer, and was curious what the benefits of medical marijuana would be for her friend who is undergoing chemotherapy.

She also was curious for herself because she has osteoarthritis.

She said the possible medical marijuana dispensary in Sycamore would be a good thing.

“If I needed it, it would be convenient,” she said.

Maryann Loncar, president of Mother Earth Holistic Health in Plainfield, has been an advocate for medical marijuana in the state and attended Thursday’s discussion. She said “education” is a big part of medical marijuana.

“We find there’s a lot of older patients in their 60s, 70s and 80s that were part of that generation that don’t understand what the big [deal] is about it,” Loncar said.

The event concluded with a question-and-answer session.

 

 

Supporters March to “Free the Weed.”

May 15, 2015


Supporters of marijuana legalization gathered and marched through downtown Chicago on May 2, carrying signs that read, "Free the Weed."

The Chicago Global Cannabis March was organized by Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or, NORML. The rally and march started at noon and took place at Daley Plaza, where guest speakers called for cannabis to be taxed, regulated and legalized for both medicinal and recreational use.

Maryann Loncar, president of Mother Earth Holistic Health and CEO of Patient’s Health Center, said her organization worked tirelessly on Illinois’ 2013 medical marijuana law, which was signed by former Gov. Pat-Quinn on Aug. 1, 2013.

Loncar does not plan to stop there; she said she wants to pass laws that include decriminalization, tax and regulation on recreational cannabis.

“We need help, there are only five of us down there passing this legislation,” Loncar said. “We were relentless. What we did was nonstop calling our legislators.”

Under the current bill, medical marijuana is strictly regulated.

There are to be only 22 cultivation centers and they must be 2,500 feet away from day care centers and schools. The law calls for no more than 60 dispensaries throughout the state and buyers can only purchase 2.5 ounces every 14 days.

Representative Robert F. Martwick, D-19th, attended the march and rally.

“With decriminalization what we’ve done is we’ve said in a certain extent that it’s OK to have it, but we said it’s still illegal to buy it,” Martwick said.

“It makes no sense to allow the possession unless you are going to legalize, regulate and tax the sale of marijuana.”

Kathie-Kane Willis, interim director at the Institute for Metropolitan Affairs at Roosevelt University and director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, spoke in favor of full legalization as sees it as a social justice issue

“When I was looking at who goes to prison I didn’t see marijuana offenders going to prison, right,” Willis said. “So, it took me a while to connect the dots between marijuana prohibition and human rights and human justice issues.”

Willis said for every white person arrested on marijuana possession charges, there are 16 African-Americans arrested on similar charges.

“That is unjust and unfair,” she said.

Ali Nagib, assistant director of Illinois NORML, said in a news release “We’re glad to be out on Daley Plaza for another year of celebrating the progress we’ve made in cannabis policy reform on the state and federal level and continuing our push to end the prohibition of this plant once and for all.”

Alyssa Gail Bobiles-Martin, a Columbia College Chicago student also attended the march. She said she supports medical marijuana because she has seen first hand how it can benefit those who are suffering.

Martin previously attended a convention where she met children as young as 2 years old who were benefiting from the use of medicinal marijuana.

“They were diagnosed with epilepsy and cancer and they went to Colorado,” she said.

“They had to move there to get their cannabis oil. So, that really moved me and it made me be like, OK this is a real problem.”

 

 

11 Health Conditions Recommended By Illinois Marijuana Board

An Illinois advisory board has voted against recommending that anxiety and diabetes be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. NBC Chicago's Charlie Wojciechowski reports. (Published Monday, May 4, 2015)


Updated at 5:09 PM CDT on Monday, May 4, 2015

An Illinois advisory board has voted against recommending that anxiety and diabetes be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

The vote at a public hearing in Chicago was one of several votes held Monday on various conditions submitted by public petition. Board members said anxiety was too broad, but left open the possibility of adding severe anxiety to the list in the future.

Serial Stowaway Arrested Three Times in Chicago

The board approved the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by a vote of 10-0 and the treatment of migraines by a vote of 8-2. The board also approved medical marijuana for patients with diabetic and peripheral neuropathy, osteoarthritis and polycystic kidney disease.

The hearing also dealt with whether scientific evidence supports military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder should use marijuana to manage their symptoms.

 

—Anorexia Nervosa

—Chronic Post-Operative Pain

—Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

—Irritable Bowel Syndrome

—Migraine

—Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease

—Neuropathy, peripheral and diabetic

—Osteoarthritis

—Polycystic kidney disease

—Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

—Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome

Rejected by the board:

—Anxiety

—Diabetes

—Essential Thrombcythemia with a JAK 2 mutation

 

Patients lose patience with medical marijuana delays


Patients who rely on the healing effects of medicinal marijuana in the Chicago area say they feel like they've been forgotten.

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Patients who rely on the healing effects of medicinal marijuana in the Chicago area say they feel like they've been forgotten.

Former governor Pat Quinn left office without be issuing licenses to dispense medical marijuana.

Patients say they are being used as political pawns in their wait for medical marijuana.

The law was passed in August of 2013. Patients say time is ticking as Illinois' pilot cannabis program expires in three years. For many, cannabis is their only medical hope.

Kelly Sindowski's son Harrison is almost 3-years-old. He has a severe form of epilepsy that causes 10-15 seizures a day. Sindowski hopes medical cannabis will be the key to easing Harrison's pain...

"He doesn't speak," Sindowski says. "He is developmentally and physically behind. We are hoping this gives him a little less seizure activity to get him learning and more focused."

Marla Levi and Julie Falco already know cannabis works to relieve their constant leg pain from Multiple Sclerosis.

"Cannabis, when it starts working, it calms everything down and I'm able to function and have a better quality of life," Falco says.

"if it wasn't for the medical cannabis I would be in bed all day," says Levi. "It loosens the tightness."

Levi, Falco and Sindowski thought by now they would have access to medical marijuana in Illinois. Sindowki and several other hopeful patients attended Gov. Quinn's bill signing ceremony for the Illinois Medical Cannibas Pilot Program a year and half ago. But Quinn left office without issuing licenses for cultivation centers and dispensing organizations.

"We felt we had a win," Sindowsky says. "It's kind of like saying, you won't get your trophy for another year. It's rough we are running out of time."

Patients are now spending their time putting pressure on Gov. Bruce Rauner. Each took a turn calling his office today.

"We are asking we are begging for compassion because he holds the key to our medicine," Levi says.

Tuesday, Rauner's office responded by simply saying it is "under review." While no time table has been given, patients are encouraged that the governor did rehire Gov. Quinn's project coordinator for the cannabis program.

 

Group seeks to provide input to medical marijuana discussion

By Alice Fabbre, Special to the Tribune
April 15, 2014

As Plainfield trustees figure out what to do with potential requests to locate medical marijuana dispensaries or facilities in their town, one group is gearing up to help others understand how medical marijuana works.

Mother Earth Holistic Health is set to open its offices in downtown Plainfield in the coming weeks. The nonprofit group has worked with state lawmakers in developing the state legalizing medical marijuana. The group plans to host seminars to educate patients about the regulations and boost public awareness of medical marijuana.

Plainfield trustees Monday offered general support for having a grow facility or dispensary in their town, but requested their village attorney look into the issue.

Mother Earth is part of a trio of companies focused on marijuana. The for-profit arms include Green Point Botanical, a cultivation company, and Patient's Health Center, the dispensary arm. The group hopes to open three grow centers and five dispensaries in Illinois — the maximum allowed for one company under state law.

He said the group approached Plainfield officials about 1 1/2 years ago to see if they would be in favor of having a grow facility or dispensary in Plainfield. The group selected Plainfield because it is within the districts of state Sen. Linda Holmes and state Rep. Tom Cross. The group worked with Holmes, a Democrat, and Cross, a Republican, to get medical marijuana legalized. Holmes has multiple sclerosis.

"We thought this was neutral ground," said Maryann Loncar, president of Earth Holistic Health and CEO of Patient's Health Center.

State law allows for 60 medical marijuana dispensaries and 22 cultivation centers — one for each state police district — to be located across the state. Illinois has joined 19 other states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The state law, which took effect this year, allows adults to obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks if they are using it to treat one of 40 specified medical conditions.

Municipalities and county can enact rules to regulate dispensaries and grow facilities, but cannot prohibit them from locating within their jurisdictions.

"Is it going to be in Plainfield? I say yes," said Plainfield Village Trustee Jim Racich.

He noted his brother died of cancer and said he welcomed both dispensaries and a grow center if it could who are suffering debilitating illnesses.

Trustees noted some possible for a grow center include an industrial area off 143rd Street or along 119th Street.

Though other towns have enacted rules requiring special-use permits and hearings, Trustee Dan Rippy questioned if that was even allowed under state law. He added state agencies will have final say on granting a company a permit for a grow center or dispensary. Trustee Bill Lamb also expressed concern about the potential of abuse of medical marijuana.

Loncar noted that Illinois' law is one of the strictest in the nation. Patients, for example, will be required to be fingerprinted and undergo background checks. Unlike some other states, conditions such as "chronic pain" are not listed as one of the qualifying illnesses to be treated with medical marijuana.

The group does plan to start meeting with patients and hosting educational seminars at Mother Earth Holistic Health in the near future.

 

 

Patients & Advocates Pass a Medical Cannabis Bill making Illinois the 20th State.



Governor, Pat Quinn, Mike Graham,Maryann Loncar & Eric Berlin.

August 1, 2013 The signing of HB1- The Medical Cannabis Bill




Governor Quinn Signs Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act

On August 1st, Governor Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1 – the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act – which will help ease pain for people across Illinois who suffer from debilitating medical conditions. Illinois is now the 21st state to enact such legislation, which includes some of the nation's strongest restrictions on the cultivation, dispensing and use of medical marijuana. The law specifies 35 medical conditions for eligibility, and is a four-year pilot program. The law takes effect on January 1, 2014.



Illinois hazy on medical marijuana legalization

Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana are urging Illinois House representatives to vote in favor of a medical cannabis bill that will be considered during the week of Dec. 3.

If it passes both houses of the General Assembly, State House Bill 30 would enact a three-year pilot program providing patients with serious medical conditions limited access to cannabis. It would be the most restrictive medical marijuana bill in the country, according to Morgan Fox, communication manager of the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the U.S. Only patients with debilitating conditions, such as HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis or cancer would be eligible for a prescription.

This is the fifth medical marijuana bill presented to the Illinois House in nine years, and for the last three years, the legislation has been one vote shy of passing, according to Maryann Loncar, a medical marijuana advocate and a member of Mother Earth Holistic Health, an Illinois nonprofit that supports patients’ rights. She said she thinks this year will be different.

“The difference here is that we have bipartisan support,” Loncar said. “We don’t want the FDA and the DEA going all crazy over our state. We want a strict system.”

Rep. Lou Lang (D-16th) planned to call the bill to a vote Nov. 28, but he postponed it because many activists worried the bill would not receive enough votes, according to Loncar.

However, the bill’s many restrictions may help it pass, according to Amanda Reiman, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkley and a leader in cannabis research.

“Having a specific list of conditions makes the government feel in control,” Reiman said. “But I think there’s definitely a risk in passing [a bill] that is too restrictive because you don’t want to prevent access for individuals who need it, and you don’t want to create legislation that is not implementable.”

Although Reiman said she believes that the bill can be enacted in its current state, many are steadfastly opposed to it.

Rep. Jim Sacia (R-89th) said he will not support the bill because of his experience as a former FBI agent.

“I think it is a drug that is not controlled at all,” Sacia said. “Many folks will suddenly have issues that they think the best way to be resolved is by tokin’ on some weed. I think it’ll be badly abused.”

Sacia said he would only support the bill if the marijuana was distributed in pill form and regulated by the FDA.

Although many believe cannabis use can be problematic, Reiman said she has seen what marijuana can do for chronically ill patients.

“One of the wonderful things about cannabis is that it addresses not only the physical aspects of the disease or disorder, but also a lot of the mental health issues that go along with having [the disease],” Reiman said. “Individuals who would have been on four or five different medications are now able to reduce that to just cannabis.”

Irv Rosenfeld, a medical marijuana patient in Florida, supports the bill. Rosenfeld is one of four remaining members of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, a federal program started in 1976 that allows participants to use marijuana as an experimental treatment. Rosenfeld receives medical cannabis from the government to treat chronic bone tumors.

Rosenfeld said he used to take Dilaudid, a powerful opioid, to deal with his chronic pain but uses only cannabis now.

“I haven’t taken any opiates since 1990,” he said. “I used to have to take Dilaudid every day. Without [marijuana], I would be homebound and on disability.”

Chicagoan Julie Falco uses marijuana to medicate her pain from multiple sclerosis. Falco previously took up to six medications per day to deal with pain, anxiety and depression caused by her disease, but said she now relies on marijuana and an occasional Tylenol with codeine to deal with her illness.

“I was lethargic and depressed, and in 2004 I was ready to commit suicide, until I tried cannabis,” Falco said. “Cannabis to me is much milder and gentler to my body and is more healing. It’s helped me profoundly since I started using it every day.”

Falco said she speaks openly in support of the issue because she knows the people who will benefit from the passage of this bill.

“This is not a political issue or a numbers game,” she said. “These are people’s lives.”

 


Mike Graham, Dr. Quentin Young, Maryann Loncar and Eric Berlin

 

 

Global Cannabis Conference Chicago

 

 

 

 


Doctor Sue Sisley comes to Chicago for the Advocates on PTSD and our soldiers.

 

Illinois hazy on medical marijuana legalization

December 3, 2012 9:39 AM

Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana are urging Illinois House representatives to vote in favor of a medical cannabis bill that will be considered during the week of Dec. 3. Zach Stemerick | THE CHRONICLE If it passes both houses of the General Assembly, State House Bill 30 would enact a three-year pilot program providing patients with serious medical conditions limited access to cannabis. It would be the most restrictive medical marijuana bill in the country, according to Morgan Fox, communication manager of the Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the U.S. Only patients with debilitating conditions, such as HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis or cancer would be eligible for a prescription. This is the fifth medical marijuana bill presented to the Illinois House in nine years, and for the last three years, the legislation has been one vote shy of passing, according to Maryann Loncar, a medical marijuana advocate and a member of Mother Earth Holistic Health, an Illinois nonprofit that supports patients’ rights. She said she thinks this year will be different. “The difference here is that we have bipartisan support,” Loncar said. “We don’t want the FDA and the DEA going all crazy over our state. We want a strict system.” Rep. Lou Lang (D-16th) planned to call the bill to a vote Nov. 28, but he postponed it because many activists worried the bill would not receive enough votes, according to Loncar. However, the bill’s many restrictions may help it pass, according to Amanda Reiman, a lecturer at the University of California at Berkley and a leader in cannabis research. “Having a specific list of conditions makes the government feel in control,” Reiman said. “But I think there’s definitely a risk in passing [a bill] that is too restrictive because you don’t want to prevent access for individuals who need it, and you don’t want to create legislation that is not implementable.” Although Reiman said she believes that the bill can be enacted in its current state, many are steadfastly opposed to it. Rep. Jim Sacia (R-89th) said he will not support the bill because of his experience as a former FBI agent. “I think it is a drug that is not controlled at all,” Sacia said. “Many folks will suddenly have issues that they think the best way to be resolved is by tokin’ on some weed. I think it’ll be badly abused.” Sacia said he would only support the bill if the marijuana was distributed in pill form and regulated by the FDA. Although many believe cannabis use can be problematic, Reiman said she has seen what marijuana can do for chronically ill patients. “One of the wonderful things about cannabis is that it addresses not only the physical aspects of the disease or disorder, but also a lot of the mental health issues that go along with having [the disease],” Reiman said. “Individuals who would have been on four or five different medications are now able to reduce that to just cannabis.” Irv Rosenfeld, a medical marijuana patient in Florida, supports the bill. Rosenfeld is one of four remaining members of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, a federal program started in 1976 that allows participants to use marijuana as an experimental treatment. Rosenfeld receives medical cannabis from the government to treat chronic bone tumors. Rosenfeld said he used to take Dilaudid, a powerful opioid, to deal with his chronic pain but uses only cannabis now. “I haven’t taken any opiates since 1990,” he said. “I used to have to take Dilaudid every day. Without [marijuana], I would be homebound and on disability.” Chicagoan Julie Falco uses marijuana to medicate her pain from multiple sclerosis. Falco previously took up to six medications per day to deal with pain, anxiety and depression caused by her disease, but said she now relies on marijuana and an occasional Tylenol with codeine to deal with her illness. “I was lethargic and depressed, and in 2004 I was ready to commit suicide, until I tried cannabis,” Falco said. “Cannabis to me is much milder and gentler to my body and is more healing. It’s helped me profoundly since I started using it every day.” Falco said she speaks openly in support of the issue because she knows the people who will benefit from the passage of this bill. “This is not a political issue or a numbers game,” she said. “These are people’s lives.”