The introduction of Illinois medical marijuana program, and recent news of favorable changes to laws which make it easier for children suffering from debilitating medical conditions to access medical marijuana, may have given some people the impression that all loose ends were tied. The recent legislation allows for qualifying patients under the age of 18 to begin using medical marijuana on January 1, 2015. New information from some Illinois families paints a different picture.
Up until a week ago patients of the Illinois medical marijuana program were only required to have one doctor’s approval. With recent changes made to the law, all patients now require approval from their main physician and a second doctor. While this measure could cut down on fraud and prevent a small amount of doctors from filling nearly every prescription, the regulations are also proving to be a hurdle for patients with qualifying conditions. It has proven to be difficult to obtain the required physician recommendations for medical marijuana.
One such patient, Brady Blanco (pictured above) suffers from severe night seizures. Brady’s treatment program requires him to take 24 pills each day. He must sleep on an inflatable mattress to prevent injury. Like many other families across the country, if the Blanco family is not able to get the treatment they desire in Illinois, they have plans to travel to a more friendly region for treatment like Colorado.
“I get calls everyday. So far, I have not found any doctors who will prescribe.”
According to the Epilepsy Foundation in Rockford, Illinois finding even one doctor to approve patient conditions, has not been easy. Area doctors cite a lack of research in the region as the main reason making them hesitant to approve marijuana prescriptions. This has put several of the foundation’s members in quite a bind.
“They quit calling back because I keep saying we haven’t found anyone yet, we are working on it. But I get calls everyday. So far, I have not found any doctors who will prescribe,” stated Epilepsy Foundation Director of Client Services, Barbara Vern-Lau.
Photo Credit: WREX