According to a report recently presented to the Illinois legislature, the average person who seeks a medical marijuana prescription from their physician is an older woman suffering from either cancer or fibromyalgia, and most likely resides somewhere in Cook County. The report was prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health, under a requirement included in the law.
In 2013, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was signed into Illinois law. The law allows for a person who is suffering from one of the 39 approved medical conditions listed in the law to register for permission to receive and use marijuana for medical use. The law went into effect in January, 2014 for a four year pilot program, but due to bureaucratic delays, is expected to get fully underway in the next few weeks.
As of June 30th, there were 3,300 fully completed medical marijuana applications submitted to the state. A third of those applications – 1,180 – came from residents of Cook County. Will County had the second highest number of residents apply at 193. Next was DuPage County, with 186 applicants, Lake County, with 173, and Kane County, which had 115 applicants.
The majority of applicants – 60 percent – were women. More than half of those women were over the age of 51. The most common medical conditions cited by applicants were fibromyalgia (severe) and cancer. Other conditions cited included spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis (MS).
One condition that is not included under the Illinois law is chronic pain. The applicant must have a qualifying condition that is identified as the cause of the pain. Eighteen of the 23 states which have medical marijuana programs do allow the diagnosis of chronic pain as an approved condition. The report cites Colorado, with 93 percent of approved applicants having chronic pain as the qualifying condition, and Arizona, with 72 percent of approved applicants having chronic pain as the qualifying condition, as examples.
Unfortunately, not everyone who applies will be approved for medical marijuana use. This means that some people who are using marijuana to alleviate symptoms of legitimate, severe medical conditions may find themselves facing criminal charges because of that cannabis use. If this happens to you or someone in your family, contact an experienced DuPage County defense attorney.