The Advocate: Weekly Cannabis News

More qualifying conditions added to Illinois’ now permanent Medical Cannabis Program 

Over the weekend, lawmakers in the House and Senate sweepingly approved Senate Bill 2023, which removes the sunset and pilot status of the program, making it permanent.

The bill also adds 11 new qualifying conditions to the program, including autism, chronic pain, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants will now be able to certify a patient’s eligibility for medicinal cannabis alongside physicians.

Changes to the law will take effect once a signature is provided by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, which he has indicated he will provide.

FDA participates in historic hearing

FDA officials recently held a public cannabis and CBD hearing at their White Oak campus in New Hampshire.

Officials listened to 120 representatives make their claims for or against Hemp-derived CBD, and the potential of rescheduling cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug. Each speaker was given 2-5 minutes to make their cases; leading to a jam-packed day of passionate testimonials and intense debates.

With an influx of producers entering the market following the November approval of the 2018 US Farm Bill, officials are expected to hold similar hearings throughout the summer, and will release a public-document of their conclusions by August 31st. Concrete changes are not expected anytime soon, as officials have repeatedly expressed the need for more research, which is often precluded from taking place in the US due to cannabis’ schedule status.

To provide a testimonial you can submit an online-document to the FDA here.

Alabama House pushing for Medical Cannabis Commission

As a compromise to the widely disapproved medical cannabis proposal that hit the Senate floor in 2018, members of the House recently approved a bill that aims to create a commission tasked with making recommendations for a future marijuana bill in the 2020 legislative session.

The commission will travel to, and work with regulators in states where medical or adult-use cannabis is legal, studying what works best and implementing it into a potential medical program for Alabamians.

If approved by the Senate, 15 people will be employed as full-time staff members; consisting of doctors, lawyers, economic experts, and other special Governor-approved appointees.

The state of Alabama enforces one of the strictest policies on cannabis and hemp-derived CBD, which severely limits patient access. If the Senate approves of the commission, it could be the first big-step in the state loosening the strict-enforcement of prohibition.

New study sheds light on why Americans use medicinal cannabis

Nielsen Insights, a leading data-driven analytics firm, aimed to better discover the why behind potential cannabis purchases of American consumers in a recently published survey.

The firm surveyed Americans currently living in states still enforcing prohibition, asking them two questions;

  1. Would you purchase and use cannabis if it were legal?
  2. If you answered (yes) to question #1, why?

Potential answers were written around two main themes; the social-aspects of cannabis consumption and the potential health effects. In total, participants had 16 potential why answers to choose from.

The top 8 surveyed-answers all fall under the mental and physical health umbrella; including chronic pain, stress relief, common side effects of ailments or disease, and minor injuries.  “To have a good time with friends and family,” was the social response that received the highest % of answers – still, it was just the 9th highest response.

The survey summarizes what many advocates and patients have continually reported; which is that patients are not getting high, they’re simply getting better.

John Kuster

As Social Media Coordinator, John oversees all things related to getting Revolution Enterprises' unique message out. An Iowa native, John joined the Revolution team to help educate, and inform the public on cannabis and all it has to offer. Prior to joining Revolution, John helped multiple companies grow and expand their reach, ranging from the tech industry to the world of international football. He is thrilled to be working in a rapidly expanding market, and is proud to represent Illinois patients and cannabis advocates across the globe.