Illinois Judge orders intractable pain onto marijuana treatment list

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ABC 7 "CHICAGO (WLS) -- A judge has ordered the state of Illinois to expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use to include intractable pain."

"The order issued Tuesday by Cook County Circuit Judge Raymond Mitchell seeks to overturn a decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health rejecting pain that's resistant to treatment as a qualifier for medical marijuana use. Director Dr. Nirav Shah last year cited a "lack of high-quality data" as a reason for denying a recommendation by the now-defunct Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board for the decision.

A health department spokeswoman says Mitchell's ruling will be appealed.

Pain accounts for the majority of medical marijuana patients in states that allow it as a qualifying condition.

The possibility that marijuana could be a viable substitute for highly addictive opioid painkillers has also prompted a proposed change in Illinois law: State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, has submitted a bill that would allow medical marijuana to be given for any medical condition in place of prescription painkillers. He expects action on the proposal in the spring legislative session, scheduled to start Jan. 30.