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Gov. Pritzker Signs Bill Expansion Of Medical Marijuana Law

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed two measures expanding what conditions are included for the state's medical marijuana program and who's allowed to authorize it.

The state's medical marijuana law has been expanded to let nurse practitioners certify a person's eligibility.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill adding expansions to the medical marijuana law that went into effect in 2013.

Senate Bill 2023 would also let physicians' assistants make the same determination as to a person's need for medical marijuana. Right now, only doctors have the authority to make the decision.

According to the Illinois Department of Public health, patients must be diagnosed with a debilitating condition, listed in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, to be eligible for a medical cannabis registry identification card in Illinois.

The bill also adds another 11 conditions to the list of acceptable conditions bringing the total number to 52. Some of those include autism, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Neuro-Behcet's Autoimmune Disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence syndrome.

"The medical cannabis program in Illinois has a proven track record of helping alleviate pain for many patients in our state," said Illinois Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) who sponsored the legislation. "By making the program permanent, expanding the number of qualifying conditions, and allowing veterans to enroll in the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program, we will vastly improve the quality of life for many people."

SB 2023 takes effect immediately. The legal use of recreational marijuana starts January 1, 2020.

Pritzker also signed Senate Bill  455 which lets school administrators or a nurse to dispense medical marijuana products and allow students to self-administer under the supervision of a school nurse or administrator. But it prevents the use and sale of smokable cannabis to anyone under the age of 21.

"This legislation brings our medical cannabis program in line with my administration's vision for equity, and it makes adjustments for the lessons we've learned since its inception," said Pritzker. "As we continue to reform state government so it better serves its families, we must do so in a way that advances dignity, empathy, opportunity and grace."

According to the governor's office, the state board of education and the Illinois Department of Public Health are working to put together a training curriculum for nurses and school administrators that has to be completed annually. A student's parent or guardian has to provide written authorization and a copy of the registry ID card of the student and parent or guardian.

SB 455 takes effect January 1, 2020.

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