Illinois residents suffering from serious medical conditions initially rejoiced when the state voted to legalize medical marijuana. But after a year and a half, that excitement has almost entirely worn off and has been replaced with despair.
One woman, suffering from multiple sclerosis, relies on marijuana to ease her painful symptoms. With lawmakers dragging their feet, however, she is now forced to get her marijuana on the street. Many others are facing the same discouraging reality.
WHY THE SIGNIFICANT DELAY IN ILLINOIS?
While the problem can’t be pinpointed to one specific area, lawsuits have been a serious issue thus far. The licensing process is undergoing scrutiny and a judge even denied one cultivation license until the complications are resolved.
Businesses aren’t the only ones hurt by the setback – patients are suffering just as much. Those with cancer and AIDS find that medical marijuana is highly beneficial but simply don’t have access because of all the legal complications. Even those who are already approved to use the drug are being put on hold.
According to numerous lawsuits that have recently been filed, Illinois ignored its own laws when evaluating applications and approving licenses to grow marijuana. Some businesses who believe that they were treated unfairly are looking to tattletale on other businesses who received different treatment. In the end, the system is getting messier by the day.
Making matters worse is the fact that there simply aren’t as many patients as officials thought there would be. Roughly 1,600 people have been approved to use medical marijuana, but the original estimates were in the tens of thousands.
Patients are experiencing pushback from hospitals, who are encouraging doctors to say no to requests for medical marijuana. Although many hospitals in Illinois were contacted about the matter, most choose not to say anything.
It is clear that until this problem gets resolved as a whole, the medical marijuana industry in Illinois will continue to be met with resistance from lawmakers and other officials. As a result, patients in desperate need of the drug will find themselves with nowhere to turn.