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1 US IL: LTE: Restrict, Don't Increase, Access To MarijuanaMon, 06 Nov 2017
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Deckard, Bill Area:Illinois Lines:42 Added:11/06/2017

An Oct. 28 letter to the Daily Herald advocated greater access to marijuana for people suffering chronic pain, citing a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). But if you visit the JAMA website and enter the search word "marijuana," you'll also see dozens of articles showing that marijuana can kill more than just pain: it can negatively impact things like cognitive function, moral clarity and the general health and well-being of users and their children and grandchildren.

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2 US IL: Can Marijuana Rescue Coal Country?Sun, 13 Aug 2017
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) Author:Ferguson, Mark Lynn Area:Illinois Lines:537 Added:08/13/2017

Johnsie Gooslin spent Jan. 16, 2015, tending his babies -- that's what he called his marijuana plants.

More than 70 of them were growing in a hydroponic system of his own design.

Sometimes, he'd stay in his barn for 16 hours straight, perfecting his technique.

That night, he left around 8 o'clock to head home. The moon was waning, down to a sliver, which left the sky as dark as the ridges that lined it. As he pulled away, the lights from his late-model Kia swept across his childhood hollow and his parents' trailer, which stood just up the road from the barn. He turned onto West Virginia Route 65. Crossing Mingo County, he passed the Delbarton Mine, where he had worked on and off for 14 years before his back gave out. Though Johnsie was built like a linebacker, falling once from a coal truck and twice from end loaders had taken a toll. At 36, his disks were a mess, and sciatica sometimes shot pain to his knees.

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3 US IL: Could Medical Marijuana Users Become Addicted To Pot?Thu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:173 Added:01/19/2017

Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph thought getting high would help him feel better.

Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that made him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went days without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.

"I always thought (marijuana) would bring down my anxiety, but it just made it that much worse," the Rockford-area man said.

One day, after getting so high that he was pacing around, alarmed by his own gaunt appearance and generally "freaking out," Joseph was taken by his brother to a Rosecrance drug treatment center in Rockford, where he entered an inpatient program.

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4 US IL: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Proposed For AlgonquinWed, 11 Jan 2017
Source:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:54 Added:01/12/2017

[photo] A medical marijuana dispensary is proposed for 1154 N. Main St. in Algonquin.

Algonquin officials are considering a medical marijuana company's proposal to open a dispensary in a medical office complex.

ILDISP III LLC, represented by Ross Morreale, is seeking a special-use permit for a free-standing building at 1154 N. Main St., out of which the company would sell marijuana to patients with a prescription.

An attached garage would also be added onto the building, which formerly housed an MRI center, as a secure area for deliveries and waste removal, according to the proposal.

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5 US IL: Medical Marijuana's Big Business Lures Ex-law Enforcers InWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:114 Added:12/28/2016

With fewer than 4,000 approved patients, the nascent medical marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow start. Yet it hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight the drug.

While neither state regulators nor the medical marijuana industry track the number of employees who were former law enforcement officials, The Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 in Illinois, many of whom have outsized influence -- from a trustee of the state's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police to one-time undercover narcotics officers.

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6 US IL: Wire: Lawsuit Filed By Kansas Mom Over Medical Pot UseTue, 27 Dec 2016
Source:Associated Press (Wire)          Area:Illinois Lines:27 Added:12/28/2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a western Kansas woman against the state and several agencies after her son was removed from her home in 2015 when he told school officials she used marijuana.

Shona Banda, of Garden City, alleged in the lawsuit filed in March that the defendants denied her civil rights by refusing to allow her to use medical marijuana to treat her Crohn's disease, interfered with her parenting and questioned her son without her permission. Medical marijuana is not legal in Kansas.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday, agreeing with the defendants' contention that Banda had no right to use marijuana and the agencies had some immunity.

Banda says she intends to pursue the case after she recovers from a recent surgery.

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7 US IL: We Need To Standardize Marijuana LawsSun, 25 Sep 2016
Source:Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL) Author:Sweeny, Chuck Area:Illinois Lines:67 Added:09/27/2016

I've been thinking a lot lately about marijuana.

No, it's not what you suspect, I don't smoke the stuff.

Nor do I need it to alleviate pain. Rather, it's our country's schizophrenic way of dealing with "weed." Here in Stephenson County is In Grown Farms, which is perfectly legal and is growing marijuana plants to be harvested, packaged and sold at marijuana dispensaries as medicine.

You need a doctor's prescription to get it. There hasn't been much controversy about it. Indeed, folks are happy that a new business decided to locate in the Freeport area. There's even talk -- perhaps far-out talk, but still -- of mixing marijuana, legally, with snack foods like pretzels or potato chips. Meanwhile, next door in Winnebago County, the county sheriff's police raided two fields, one near Durand, the other between Rockford and Winnebago, and found what they said was $1 million worth of marijuana plants. These plants were growing illegally.

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8 US IL: Pot Industry Lights UpThu, 11 Aug 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:154 Added:08/12/2016

Illinois Medical Marijuana Use Has Increased Under Strict Regulation As Business Expands

In a warehouse in Joliet, hundreds of marijuana plants sway under high-intensity lights, taking in carbon dioxide-rich air, sucking up a constant feed of nutrients and bristling with buds.

Like Olympic athletes, the plants are rigorously trained and intensively pampered. Tiny predator bugs patrol the surface of the vegetation, hunting down any pests. Workers prune stems and leaves to put all the plants' energy into buds that produce the drug's euphoric and medicinal effects. The process churns out 200 pounds of high-grade pot every month.

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9 US IL: Rauner Cuts Pot Possession PunishmentSat, 30 Jul 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Garcia, Monique Area:Illinois Lines:129 Added:07/30/2016

Governor Signs Legislation to Issue Citations Instead of Time in Jail

SPRINGFIELD - Getting caught with small amounts of marijuana will result in citations akin to a traffic ticket instead of the possibility of jail time under legislation Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Friday.

Rauner's approval of the decriminalization measure comes after he used his amendatory veto powers last year to rewrite similar legislation he argued would have allowed people to carry too much pot and fine violators too little.

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10 US IL: State Medical Marijuana Program Extended To '20Sat, 02 Jul 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:84 Added:07/02/2016

(AP) - Illinois' experiment with medical marijuana has earned a boost thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner's approval of legislation extending the state pilot program for 2 1/2 years and including two more medical conditions.

On Friday, medical marijuana advocates and experts called it a turning point that gives patients guaranteed access to the drug and provides confidence to those selling and cultivating it in the state. Rauner signed the measure Thursday night.

"It's a very good thing for us," said Charles Bachtell, founder and CEO of Cresco Labs, which holds cultivation permits in Illinois. "It's somewhat of an endorsement of the state saying, 'You're doing the right thing. We like what we're seeing from the pilot program and let's make some reasonable modifications.'"

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11 US IL: Judge Orders State: Make PTSD Eligible for MedicalWed, 29 Jun 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Johnson, Carla K. Area:Illinois Lines:73 Added:06/29/2016

Illinois must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment, a Cook County judge ordered Tuesday in a sternly worded ruling that also said the state's public health director engaged in a "private investigation" that was "constitutionally inappropriate."

In a lawsuit filed by an Iraq war veteran, Judge Neil Cohen ordered Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah to add PTSD within 30 days. It's the first decision among eight lawsuits filed by patients disappointed with across-the-board rejections by Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration of recommendations from an advisory board on medical marijuana.

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12 US IL: Medical Pot Industry Eager To Add PTSDWed, 15 Jun 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:164 Added:06/16/2016

Terminal Illness Also Covered Under Bill for Rauner

Advocates for medical marijuana hope Illinois' plan to expand its program will give the industry the boost it needs to sustain itself - but some doctors warn that, despite changes made to protect them, they still have legal and medical concerns about the product.

After previously rejecting efforts to make medical marijuana available to more people, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office has indicated he will sign into law a bill to lengthen the pilot program by more than two years, to July 1, 2020. The legislation also adds two new qualifying conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness.

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13 US IL: Rauner To Sign Medical Cannabis BillSun, 05 Jun 2016
Source:Belleville News-Democrat (IL) Author:Fitzgerald, Mike Area:Illinois Lines:130 Added:06/05/2016

For months, Illinois' fledgling medical cannabis industry had been limping along - dogged by uncertainties over its future and hurt by disappointingly low numbers of patients whose medical conditions qualified them for state certification cards.

But in the last few days, the clouds of gloom have lifted thanks to a compromise bill now awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature. The measure would extend the state medical cannabis pilot program by 2 1/2 years, to July 1, 2020. It would also expand the list of qualifying conditions, to include post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illnesses, potentially adding hundreds of thousands of new patients to the state registry.

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14 US IL: Column: Colorado's Mellow Experience On Legal PotThu, 19 May 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Chapman, Steve Area:Illinois Lines:105 Added:05/19/2016

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed a 2012 state ballot initiative to allow the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes. He told voters it might "increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK." Spurning his advice, voters approved it.

So he might be excused if, four years later, he were tempted to gaze upon the results of this experiment and say, "I told you so." In fact, Hickenlooper has done just the opposite. "It's beginning to look like it might work," he said recently.

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15 US IL: Defendant's Alleged Pot Use Puts Spotlight onThu, 19 May 2016
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Stout, Matt Area:Illinois Lines:65 Added:05/19/2016

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday decried the "proliferation" of pot use and called on authorities to prosecute to the "fullest" extent of the law a Webster man accused of being high in a crash that killed a state trooper, sparking a renewed focus on the state's marijuana laws amid a heated debate on legalization.

Police said David Njuguna was driving "impaired" after visiting a medical marijuana dispensary in Brookline and had a half-burnt marijuana cigarette in his car when he slammed into trooper Thomas L. Clardy's SUV in mid-March, killing the veteran officer.

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16 US IL: Heroin Deaths: Tragedy or Murder?Sun, 15 May 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Dumke, Mick Area:Illinois Lines:256 Added:05/15/2016

Authorities Are Filing More Drug-Induced Homicide Charges, but Complex Cases Show It's Hard to Decide Whether Offenders Deserve Prison or Treatment

When police and paramedics arrived at her aunt's apartment in Carol Stream, Adrianna Diana told them she and her friend Christopher Houdek had cooked and shot up heroin the night before.

Diana, 20, said she awoke covered in vomit, with Houdek, 21, next to her, unresponsive and "cool to the touch." Her aunt called 911.

Paramedics rushed Houdek to a hospital, where he died. The DuPage County coroner ruled his 2013 death an accident by "heroin intoxication." But prosecutors decided it was homicide- and charged Diana and two heroin dealers.

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17 US IL: Editorial: Illinois Should Expand the Uses of MedicalSat, 14 May 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:89 Added:05/14/2016

Illinois has taken a go-slow approach to medical marijuana, limiting risk by allowing the industry to operate as a pilot program until the start of 2018. So far, so good: The highly regulated system, designed to provide relief to patients suffering from 39 specific ailments, such as cancer and Parkinson's, has operated smoothly since it started last year.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, like his predecessor, Pat Quinn, hasn't rushed the process. But a policy of prudence that doesn't evolve with the evidence can wind up being overly cautious: Today some hurting Illinois residents can't get the aid they seek because of Rauner's approach.

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18 US IL: Editorial: Seize Chance to Decriminalize Personal-UseFri, 29 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:104 Added:04/30/2016

Illinois lawmakers have a solid shot of passing a law to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana - and of seeing Gov. Bruce Rauner actually sign that legislation.

Lawmakers last year sent Rauner a bill to make possession of up to 15 grams of pot a ticketable - rather than a criminal - offense, but Rauner vetoed it, saying it would allow people to carry too much pot and that stiffer fines than $55 to $125 were warranted.

A new version of that bill, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), picks up language from Rauner's amendatory veto. It would allow possessors of even less marijuana - 10 grams - to face slightly larger fines of $100 to $200.

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19 US IL: Aldermen Want to OK Medical Pot Dispensaries in 'Wed, 27 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Spielman, Fran Area:Illinois Lines:79 Added:04/27/2016

Medical marijuana dispensaries would be permitted in a wider swath of downtown Chicago thanks to a zoning change advanced Tuesday at the behest of the City Council's most powerful alderman.

Ald. Edward Burke ( 14th) persuaded the City Council's Zoning Committee to allow dispensaries in the zoning district known as the "downtown core."

Currently, there are four zoning districts in downtown Chicago: residential; mixed-use; service; and the area known as the downtown core. That last category includes office buildings, residential high- rises, stores, theaters and government buildings.

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20 US IL: Medical Pot May Come To LoopWed, 27 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Dardick, Hal Area:Illinois Lines:63 Added:04/27/2016

Burke Teams Up With Donor on Zoning Proposal

Medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed in the Loop under a change to Chicago zoning regulations pitched by Ald. Ed Burke and a campaign contributor he once helped nearly double his state pension through a one-month sweetheart deal.

Former-state-lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Robert Molaro told the City Council Zoning Committee on Tuesday about the roadblock that pot dispensaries now face: They're technically allowed in some Loop areas, but the potential sites are within 1,000 feet of a school or day-care facility, and that rules them out under state law.

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21 US IL: PUB LTE: Asset Forfeiture Is Worst Strategy of War onTue, 26 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Gierach, James E. Area:Illinois Lines:57 Added:04/26/2016

The Chicago Sun- Times editorial ["Law needs to rein in government seizures," April 19] supporting the reform of Illinois and federal forfeiture laws regarding drugs and suspected drug proceeds was spot- on correct, and former administrator of the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration Peter Bensinger's contrary opinion was dead wrong. ["Seize cartel assets best way to beat them," letter to the editor, April 22].

As the Chicago Sun- Times editorialized on June 22, 2010, "America's War on Drugs is over - we lost - and it's time to get real about our drug laws."

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22 US IL: Legislator: Put Warning Labels On Medical PotMon, 04 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Moreno, Ivan Area:Illinois Lines:35 Added:04/04/2016

SPRINGFIELD (AP) - Medical marijuana in Illinois would be required to carry warning labels about possible side effects under a bill of a Republican lawmaker.

Rep. Dwight Kay, of downstate Edwardsville, said the goal is to treat medical marijuana like other prescription drugs that warn patients about possible adverse effects. His bill, up for a House committee vote Monday, doesn't specify what warnings should be on the products, leaving it to the state health department to decide.

But Kay said he would like to see warnings about how marijuana can cause drowsiness and impaired driving, and that it can affect pregnancies.

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23 US IL: Pot Extract Could Help Kids With EpilepsyMon, 04 Apr 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:158 Added:04/04/2016

Clinical Trial Shows Reduced Seizures in Children, Possibly Increasing Chances of FDA Approval

A marijuana extract significantly reduced seizures in severely epileptic children, according to a landmark study conducted in part at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Supporters said the results greatly improve the chances for the drug, called Epidiolex, to win eventual approval by federal regulators for prescription use to treat Dravet syndrome, a debilitating type of epilepsy that strikes in early childhood. The drug would be the first derived from the marijuana plant to win such approval.

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24 US IL: Illinois Lawmakers Take Another Go at DecriminalizingSun, 27 Mar 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Moreno, Ivan Area:Illinois Lines:83 Added:03/27/2016

But Opposition Fierce From Foes Including Law Enforcement Officials

SPRINGFIELD - Another attempt to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana statewide is again in front of Illinois lawmakers, but as before, the proposal faces strong opposition from law enforcement and anti-pot advocates.

The omnibus bill in the Senate also sets a standard for what's considered too high to drive and automatically purges municipal citation records for possession annually, unless local governments decide against it. Opponents of the legislation dislike both of those provisions, too, saying there should be zero tolerance and that expunging records will make it difficult to determine when someone needs drug treatment.

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25 US IL: OPED: 5 Myths About HeroinWed, 09 Mar 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Szalavitz, Maia Area:Illinois Lines:193 Added:03/09/2016

America's epidemic of heroin and prescription-pain-reliever addiction has become a major issue in the 2016 election. The epidemic is worse than ever: Deaths from overdoses of opioids - the drug category that includes heroin and prescription analgesics such as Vicodin - reached an all-time high in 2014, rising 14 percent in a single year. But because drug policy has long been a political and cultural football, myths about opioid addiction abound. Here are some of the most dangerous - and how they do harm.

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26 US IL: Medical Marijuana Dispensary a Positive for SpringfieldSun, 28 Feb 2016
Source:State Journal-Register (IL) Author:Esswein, Edna Area:Illinois Lines:44 Added:03/03/2016

I am writing in response to the Feb. 19 article by Dean Olsen, titled "Medical marijuana dispensary opens its doors for first time in Springfield."

Opening up a medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield is yet another step in the right direction to make it more socially acceptable and moving marijuana from the bad drug category into the useful medical category. While the steps are very involved to get accepted into the pilot program with fees and a lot of paperwork, they are very much worth all the effort put forth once accepted. This law will help many people in the state of Illinois who are interested in trying out an alternative method to the constant pills and their side effects.

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27 US IL: LTE: Illinois Erred In Allowing Medical MarijuanaSat, 20 Feb 2016
Source:State Journal-Register (IL) Author:Boyenga, Kirk Area:Illinois Lines:42 Added:02/20/2016

The opening of the medical marijuana facility in Springfield is proof positive that our state's political leaders are driven by money, not facts. Marijuana continues to be a dangerous drug that has not been proven to have medicinal effect on more than one or two relatively rare conditions. National medical organizations continue to argue strongly against its use as medicine.

It is certainly heartbreaking that many people experiencing serious pain or other severe symptoms are seeking help from cannabis. The sad truth is that marijuana might very well dull the discomfort, but at what cost? Marijuana, as with all mood altering drugs, offers great front-end promises, but then delivers rear-end tragedy. It would be great if everyone who felt bad, either physically or emotionally could be made to feel good with a drug. Every physician with a conscience knows that, when possible, pain relief needs to result in a productive human being. There is little to suggest that treatment with cannabis will produce such results. The more marijuana is promoted as a cure-all, the fewer contributing members of society there will be.

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28 US IL: PUB LTE: Medical Marijuana Is Safer Than OpioidsThu, 21 Jan 2016
Source:Rockford Register Star (IL) Author:Schwartz, Rick Area:Illinois Lines:47 Added:01/22/2016

As a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor, I see first-hand how the number of drug overdoses from abusing opioid pain medications is at epidemic levels.

I believe medical cannabis can help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 there were a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the U.S., more than any other previous year on record. There has never been a documented overdose death from cannabis.

In an October 2014 study in the American Medical Association's Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers conclude that medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose rates. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower average annual overdose rate compared to states without medical cannabis laws.

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29 US IL: Expansion Of Medical Pot Plan UrgedTue, 19 Jan 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:130 Added:01/19/2016

Petition Asks for More Illnesses on Approved List

Medical marijuana advocates are mounting a petition drive and social media campaign to convince Gov. Bruce Rauner to greatly expand the program in Illinois - but the governor hasn't yet given any indication he would do so.

The campaign is driven in part by industry officials who fear their businesses won't survive without more than the current 4,000 patients statewide. Joining them are patients with a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain and common arthritis, who say they need medical marijuana to relieve their symptoms without the side effects of prescription drugs.

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30 US IL: Use Medical Marijuana To Help Manage PainSat, 16 Jan 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Sloan, Marc Area:Illinois Lines:47 Added:01/17/2016

I have been a practicing physician in the Chicagoland area for more than 30 years with a specialty in pain medicine. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention draws attention to the fact that Illinois must allow patients the opportunity to choose cannabis over highly addictive and sometimes deadly prescription drugs.

Opioids and narcotics remain the primary drugs for treating chronic pain despite their dangerous side effects. According to the CDC, 44 people die each day from prescription drug painkiller overdose, and health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012. This epidemic is disproportionately affecting women, with a more than 400 percent increase in painkiller overdose deaths since 1999.

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31 US IL: OPED: More Work to Be Done for Medical Cannabis IndustrySun, 17 Jan 2016
Source:News-Gazette, The (Champaign, IL) Author:Morreale, Ross Area:Illinois Lines:70 Added:01/17/2016

Medical cannabis has been available to Illinois patients for nearly two months and we have already witnessed countless success stories about how this natural remedy is helping people live an improved quality of life. In many cases, this improvement comes after all other treatment options have failed.

The medical cannabis industry has invested more than $250 million in Illinois while training a new workforce, employing more than 500 people and becoming an economic engine for communities still reeling from the recession. Local mayors who are happy to see residents back to work, restaurants full and a renewed interest in real-estate development support the program. Operating at about half-capacity, the industry has the potential to change the landscape of Illinois.

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32 US IL: Column: El Chapo Got Caught. So What?Thu, 14 Jan 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Chapman, Steve Area:Illinois Lines:95 Added:01/15/2016

All across America last weekend, panicked drug users rushed to their dealers to stock up on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine for fear of running out. The arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, was sure to cause a sudden shortage of illegal substances in this country.

That's right. And I'm Queen Latifah. In reality, the capture of the narcotics kingpin is likely to have about as much impact on drug supplies as Martian solar storms do. You wouldn't expect long lines at the gas pump if the CEO of Exxon Mobil were suddenly unavailable because the company, its retailers and its suppliers would go on functioning.

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33 US IL: PUB LTE: Thumbs Up To Cannabis DecriminalizationWed, 06 Jan 2016
Source:Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, IL) Author:Linn, Dan Area:Illinois Lines:43 Added:01/07/2016

To the Editor:

I am glad that The Southern gave a "thumbs up" to the cannabis decriminalization bill being reintroduced in Springfield. How long until we end another failed prohibition completely? Keeping a plant illegal seems silly when there are plenty of other crimes that go unsolved every year. However it is easier for police to catch some college kids getting high than it is for them to solve a cold case murder or a rape.

The medical cannabis program has shown that there are investors and businesses willing to open up in parts of central and southern Illinois at a time when other businesses are shutting down or leaving the state. Colorado had to issue a tax refund to its citizens due to amount of taxes that were paid from the legal cannabis industry, both medical and recreational. Personally I would put Illinois farmers above Colorado farmers when it comes to growing cannabis, if only Illinois farmers had the chance. Those who were lucky enough to get a cultivation license to grow medical cannabis in Illinois needed large amounts financial capital and experience, something Illinois farmers just could not admit to when competing against the west coast gardeners. Illinois should legalize cannabis for all adults, not just those who are sick.

Dan Linn

Dan Linn is executive director, Illinois for the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws

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34 US IL: Medical Pot Lures Former Law EnforcersMon, 28 Dec 2015
Source:Seattle Times (WA) Author:Zagier, Alan Scher Area:Illinois Lines:125 Added:12/29/2015

Big Business

'Who Better Would You Want to Oversee Your Compliance Than a Cop?'

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - With fewer than 4,000 approved patients, the nascent medical-marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow start. Yet it hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight pot. STEVE NAGY / BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT Scott Abbott, a retired Illinois State Police colonel, speaks with Mark Lewis, left, and Jeff Greer in September at the new medical-marijuana dispensary being built in Collinsville, Ill.

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35 US IL: PUB LTE: Administrators, Let Doctors Choose on MedicalWed, 23 Dec 2015
Source:Dispatch, The (Moline, IL) Author:Morreale, Ross Area:Illinois Lines:47 Added:12/25/2015

The article, "Few Q-C residents OK'd for medical marijuana," highlights how health care organizations are prohibiting physicians from participating in the medical cannabis program and draws attention to a disturbing trend putting politics before patients.

We are hearing stories from patients on how medical cannabis has changed their lives. Cannabis stimulates appetite and reduces nausea for cancer patients. It relieves rheumatoid arthritis pain and allows people to become active members of their families. It helps people live an improved quality of life and with edibles coming to market, even more will benefit from a variety of delivery methods to minimize and in many cases eliminate their symptoms.

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36 US IL: Newly Legalized in Illinois, Medical Pot Sells BrisklySun, 15 Nov 2015
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:54 Added:11/15/2015

CHICAGO - Patients bought $210,000 of medical marijuana in the first week it was legal in Illinois, marking what patients and industry officials said was a welcome, if overdue, start.

"By and large, things have gone well," said Joseph Wright, director of the Illinois medical marijuana pilot program.

More than 800 patients have bought 13,000 grams of cannabis since the state's first dispensaries opened Nov. 9. That's about half an ounce per customer, at an average price of $16 per gram, or about $450 per ounce.

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37 US IL: PUB LTE: Allow Medical Marijuana for Autism TreatmentFri, 23 Oct 2015
Source:Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, IL) Author:Ihm, Patricia Area:Illinois Lines:66 Added:10/23/2015

To the Editor:

My son, Ethan, has autism.

I am learning more on this parenting journey than I ever expected to learn.

Honestly, I really don't want to learn about the side effects of Risperdal or Zyprexa. I don't want to have a reason to know them. I don't want others to treat my sweet boy with any less dignity than he deserves.

The grip of autism is not selective. This child is only trying to make sense of his world and his emotional kaleidoscope. I want him to be able to cross the train tracks without being gripped by fear and to enjoy the Christmas lights with the rest of us. I want him to know that he is a treasure, every single day.

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38 US IL: Could Medical Pot Lead To Addiction?Mon, 19 Oct 2015
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:175 Added:10/19/2015

Small Percentage of Patients May Be at Risk, Experts Say

Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph thought getting high would help him feel better.

Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that made him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went days without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.

"I always thought (marijuana) would bring down my anxiety, but it just made it that much worse," the Rockford-area man said.

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39 US IL: PUB LTE: Medical Pot Safer Than Prescription MedsWed, 14 Oct 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Linn, Dan Area:Illinois Lines:46 Added:10/15/2015

I'd like to respond to Ms. Fay's letter warning Illinois residents about medical cannabis becoming available in Illinois.

It is unfortunate that Calvina Fay chose to fear-monger about medical cannabis ["Medical marijuana causes host of problems," Counterpoint, Tuesday] when surely she is aware of the prescription pain pills that are leading to an epidemic of opioid addiction and fatalities. Cannabis has neither the same addictive properties as those opioids nor the potential for an overdose fatality and by any objective account is much safer than many prescription pills.

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40 US IL: OPED: Medical Marijuana Causes Host Of ProblemsTue, 13 Oct 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Fay, Calvina Area:Illinois Lines:49 Added:10/15/2015

As medical marijuana becomes a reality in Illinois, residents should brace themselves to the problems seen in other states. Already, as reported last month, the marijuana industry is ignoring bans on advertising and launching a million-dollar marketing campaign to boost sales.

Advertising highly potent edible products, such as cookies and candy, that are appealing to youth sends the wrong message and leads young people to believe marijuana is harmless. The medical marijuana cottage industry lacks consumer safety protocols and has led to an increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits in other states.

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41 US IL: Editorial: Even Springfield Can Reach a Deal on MedicalTue, 13 Oct 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:58 Added:10/15/2015

The political dysfunction in Springfield that has made it impossible to do something as basic as pass a state budget threatens to eviscerate an important pilot program for medical marijuana-even as potential patients continue to get in line.

But this is one logjam that could be broken quickly, and it should be.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and the Legislature have shown a good-faith willingness to actually talk to each other about this one - - rare itself these days. For the sake of severely ill people suffering from chronic pain, we urge the governor and Legislature to keep on talking and reach a deal. They might even learn a thing or two about how to bridge the chasm, by giving and getting, on other more difficult issues.

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42 US IL: Column: In Race, Pot An Untapped PotFri, 18 Sep 2015
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Freedlander, David Area:Illinois Lines:259 Added:09/18/2015

Advocates, With Cash in Hand, Await the Backing of at Least One Candidate

Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has never smoked pot, not even as a bell-bottom-wearing undergraduate in the 1960s. Her husband's administration went nuclear in the war on drugs. During her 2008 campaign, she publicly opposed marijuana legalization.

But it's now seven years later, and the marijuana industry is a $2.7 billion business - the fastest-growing in the United States - and one that operates without any legal sanctions in four states, is decriminalized in16 others and is permitted for medical use in a few more.

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43 US IL: Trials Of Pot Drug For Epilepsy Show PromiseSun, 16 Aug 2015
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:McCoppin, Robert Area:Illinois Lines:121 Added:08/19/2015

Hank Kovach's experience mirrors the recent success stories of other children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Wracked by frequent, daily seizures that delayed his brain development, the 7-year-old Chicago boy was unable to speak, learn much or even sleep without waking up in tears after an hour or two. Conventional drugs didn't help much.

But after he began using a marijuana extract last year, his parents said, they were astounded when Hank went six months without a seizure. He began uttering sounds, learning numbers and colors, and, for the first time, sleeping through the night.

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44 US IL: Rauner Pushes Stricter Pot BillSat, 15 Aug 2015
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Garcia, Monique Area:Illinois Lines:116 Added:08/17/2015

Governor Rewrites Measure, Which Now Returns to Lawmakers

SPRINGFIELD - Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday used his veto powers to rewrite a bill aimed at decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying the measure that lawmakers sent him would let people carry too much pot and sets fines too low.

Rauner said while he supports the "fundamental purposes" of keeping people out of jail and cutting court costs, such a significant change in drug laws "must be made carefully and incrementally." Sponsors of the bill pushed back, saying the changes are "low-hanging fruit" when it comes to reforming the criminal justice system and contending the governor is working against his own goal of reducing the number of prison inmates.

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45 US IL: PUB LTE: Patients Need Medical Marijuana NowFri, 07 Aug 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Erickson, Joel Area:Illinois Lines:43 Added:08/08/2015

While the Chicago Sun-Times' Editorial Board begins commendably enough Thursday by asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the extension for the medical cannabis pilot program, it then asks people who suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder to wait an indefinite period of time for relief from addiction and overdosing on opioid pain killers, which are the staples of most regimens of current treatments for PTSD.

While the Editorial Board gave some credence to the realities of PTSD, it is not possible to say PTSD exists and then ask people to wait for non-opioid relief for it unless there's doubt that PTSD is a real condition.

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46 US IL: Editorial: Give Medical Marijuana Program a Chance toThu, 06 Aug 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:61 Added:08/08/2015

With every day that passes, it becomes more important that Gov. Bruce Rauner sign a bill resetting the start date of Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program. At the same time, if only to protect popular support for the pilot program, the governor has good reason to veto, for now, a companion bill that would add to the list of conditions for which medical pot can be subscribed.

The pilot program was expected to run for about four years, enough time to evaluate whether it helps people who are ill without creating unexpected problems. But due to a number of delays, the program has yet to start, and it is scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2018. The bill on Rauner's desk would reset the start date, allowing the pilot program to get its full run.

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47 US IL: Dracut Rep Vows to Oppose Ballot Initiatives toWed, 05 Aug 2015
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Chabot, Hillary Area:Illinois Lines:58 Added:08/06/2015

A state lawmaker opposed to legalizing marijuana vowed to fight pro-pot ballot initiatives expected to be filed today, saying she'll join others taking on state Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who backs legalizing pot and already has an advance copy of one of the questions.

"We all see what opioids do. I don't think we should be adding fuel to the already raging drug issues in Massachusetts," said state Rep. Colleen M. Garry (D-Dracut), who joins high-profile pols such as Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Hub Mayor Martin J. Walsh in opposing marijuana legalization.

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48 US IL: 'Dry' Town Site Of New Medical Marijuana FarmMon, 03 Aug 2015
Source:Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Author:Schlikerman, Becky Area:Illinois Lines:78 Added:08/03/2015

If you want a bottle of booze in downstate Albion, you have to drive out of town.

But the Edwards County town of less than 2,000 residents is the site of a huge medical marijuana farm.

The seemingly contradictory situation has led some in town to declare Albion "high and dry."

And a local shop has sold dozens of T- shirts with the pithy phrase.

"The high is we're growing marijuana here in Albion," Ald. Arrol Stewart said with a laugh. "The dry is two of the convenience stores have applied for a package liquor license, and they were turned down. The city council voted against it."

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49 US IL: Debate Swirls Around Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana inSun, 28 Jun 2015
Source:Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL) Author:Olsen, Dean Area:Illinois Lines:349 Added:06/29/2015

If Mike Bonds had avoided misdemeanor convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana more than 15 years ago, he believes he might have been able to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

The trajectory of his life - which includes a 2000 felony conviction in Piatt County for marijuana possession - might have been altered, said Bonds, who now operates a gutter installation business.

That's why Bonds, 36, who lives in rural Mansfield, about 65 miles northeast of Springfield, supports a bill on Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk that would decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis.

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50 US IL: PUB LTE: Patients Are WaitingSat, 27 Jun 2015
Source:Northwest Herald (IL) Author:Florian, Kurt W. Jr. Area:Illinois Lines:49 Added:06/28/2015

To the Editor:

I am writing on behalf of the epilepsy community in response to the editorial "Medical marijuana program slow to unfold."

The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago was heavily involved in passing a recent amendment to the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, adding epilepsy as a debilitating condition, and it is committed to the success of this program, ensuring it is safe and accessible for all patients.

There are 3 million Americans living with epilepsy, and more than 130,000 in the Chicago area. Epilepsy is a neurological condition that produces reoccurring seizures, and, in the case of about one-third of those people with epilepsy, their seizures are uncontrolled by conventional treatments. Many individuals, including children with epilepsy, have experienced remarkable results using a form of medicinal cannabis called cannabidiol. Despite the fact that the program was launched Aug. 1, 2013, no one has received treatment.

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