Illinois Governor Considering Bill Allowing Medical Marijuana as Opioid Alternative

Illinois Gov. Rauner is expected to take action on the state’s Alternatives to Opioids Act before Tuesday’s deadline, according to media reports. The pending bill would allow patients who have been prescribed opioids to instead obtain a temporary identification card authorizing them to treat pain with cannabis under the Illinois medical marijuana program.

The temporary identification cards would be valid for ninety days and could be extended by the patient’s physician. Those receiving temporary cards would not have to comply with provisions of the medical marijuana program requiring fingerprint and background checks for patients.

Bob Morgan, the former chief of the state’s medical marijuana program, said that the bill could potentially help tens of thousands of patients avoid using opiates by expediting the issuance of temporary cards.

“The Act adds an important new tool for physicians in Illinois — allowing a doctor to issue a medical cannabis certification instead of prescribing highly addictive opioids,” Morgan said.

The Alternative to Opioids Act was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Don Harmon and Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy. The bill was passed by the state Senate in April and approved by the Illinois House of Representatives the following month. After both houses concurred to amendments to the measure

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