By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
An Illinois judge overruled the State’s Director of Public Health decision not to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen chastised Director Nirav Shah in his ruling for failing to follow the recommendations of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
This specific question of adding PTSD to the Illinois qualifying conditions list was on the verge of being remedied with recently approved legislation that Gov. Bruce Rauner indicated he would sign. But, this has implications far beyond PTSD by opening the door for other pending lawsuits, concerning other qualifying conditions like chronic pain and osteoarthritis, to get traction.
The case was filed by Daniel Paul Jabs, a military veteran that deals with PTSD. He was deprived of his due process, and the action taken by Shah “was contrary to the plain language of the Department’s rules,” said Judge Cohen.
The advisory board had voted unanimously to add PTSD to the list, but Shah refused to do so and conducted his own “investigation”. That was highly inappropriate and against the rules set forth in Illinois law, which doesn’t allow for “investigations” by his department.
“The Director’s legal duty was to review the evidence, review the advisory board’s recommendations based thereon and render a final decision accepting or denying the proposal,” the judge wrote in his opinion. “Instead, Director Shah engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view and more importantly, hidden from the parties, and arrived at his conclusion based thereon. This process was constitutionally inappropriate.”
“It’s good to see due process win the day out in Illinois,” Michael Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access (VMCA) told Oregon Cannabis Connection. “These folks that are opposing us on medical marijuana and make new hoops for us to jump through every time we turn around find that they can’t do that when they have to follow due process.”
According to the department spokeswoman Melaney Arnold, the health department is reviewing the judge’s order. Judge Cohen ordered Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah to add PTSD within 30 days.
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