A powerful demonstration, executed by Medical Cannabis Outreach, was held on the steps on the Illinois State Capital on Wednesday January 27, 2015.
Twenty-two body bags representing the number of American veterans who commit suicide every day and several large, transparent bags filled with empty pill bottles symbolizing the prescription drug epidemic in the United States were displayed at the Lincoln Statue of the State Capital while the group hand-delivered a petition to Governor Bruce Rauner’s office.
Caprice Sweatt speaking during the demonstration. (photo credit: Salveo Health & Wellness)
The petition, addressed to Gov. Rauner and Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, is calling for the expansion and extension of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.
“The goal in going to the State House is to demonstrate on behalf of patients, potential patients, and Veterans who are frustrated with the Rauner Administration’s decision not to add any of the 8 new debilitating medical conditions that were recommended by the medical advisory board,”
Caprice Sweatt, Medical Cannabis Outreach CEO, explained to Whaxy.
“We hope by staging this demonstration that the residents of Illinois and the Rauner Administration will understand that it is imperative that these 8 conditions be approved.”
Hundreds of supporters of all ages reportedly joined Medical Cannabis Outreach for the demonstration in Springfield.
Ladies holding signs which read “Grandmas Say ‘Approve the 8!'”
photo credit: Illinois NORML
In May of 2015, a panel of health care experts called the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that eleven conditions be added to the list of those which qualify a patient to register with the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Gov. Rauner denied the expansion, citing that moving to include new conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and osteoarthritis would “prematurely expand” the program before its success has been evaluated by the state.
The board voted again in October 2015 to add eight conditions, including chronic pain, PTSD, autism and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), to those which qualify for medical cannabis in Illinois. Neither Gov. Rauner nor Dr. Shah have moved to include any of the board’s recommendations.
“I think we have to put our politics and social agendas aside and boil it down to what matters most, which is easing human suffering,”
stated Board chair Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple.
“We bring a high level of education to this table. We ask that our recommendations be taken seriously as the pilot [program] moves very soon into its implementation phase.”
More photos from the “Approve the 8” demonstration calling for eight conditions to be added to those which qualify for medical cannabis in Illinois: