Pubdate: Wed, 24 Dec 2014
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2014 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Robert McCoppin


State Allowing Food, Liquid Infusions for Qualifying Children

Children who live in Illinois will be allowed access to medical 
marijuana in the new year under rules announced by state officials Tuesday.

Those younger than 18 will need permission from a parent or legal 
guardian, must get the drug through an adult caregiver and will be 
required to receive approval from their own treating physician and a 
second doctor. Children may obtain only marijuana-infused products, 
such as food or liquid drops, and will not be allowed to get raw pot 
for smoking, under Illinois Department of Public Health rules.

A new state law that took effect this year originally authorized 
medical marijuana for adults only. But parents of children with 
severe seizure disorders spearheaded a change in the law to allow 
ailing minors to get the drug as well.

Some children in other states where medical marijuana is legal 
reportedly suffered many fewer seizures and fewer side effects after 
taking marijuana oil that was so low in the psychoactive ingredient 
THC that they did not get high. Research has also shown that 
marijuana can help treat pain and improve appetite, and its use in 
Illinois was approved for any child who has one of about three dozen 
qualifying medical conditions, among them cancer and muscular dystrophy.

When the change takes effect on New Year's Day, children who apply 
must submit photos but will not be required to submit fingerprints, 
as their caregivers and adult patients must do.

State regulators say that before the end of this year, they will 
announce which businesses will be awarded licenses to operate up to 
21 growing warehouses and 60 retail shops spread throughout the 
state. Then the businesses will have to equip their facilities and 
grow the first crops, which are expected to be on the market by this spring.

Marijuana remains illegal and is classified as having no medical 
value under federal law. The American Medical Association and 
anti-drug advocates oppose its use, warning of damage to the lungs 
and brain. Critics and advocates of medical marijuana agree that much 
more research should be done to understand its effects.

The Illinois rules changes also expanded the proposed Medical 
Cannabis Advisory Board to include one parent or caregiver of a child 
patient, and at least one health care practitioner with pediatric 
experience. The board will consider expanding the program to cover 
additional medical conditions.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom