Medical marijuana investors disappointed so few Illinois patients have enrolled

Is there an illness you think should be added to the State of Illinois' list of those that may be treated with medical marijuana?

Well, Friday’s the last day to submit your suggestion to the state Department of Public Health.

As FOX 32’s Political Editor Mike Flannery reports, the approaching deadline brought several dozen demonstrators Downtown.

The wealthy investors spending tens of millions of dollars to grow and sell medical marijuana are disappointed that so few patients have asked for permission to buy it.

Well, some say they would, if they could. 

Demonstrators in front of the State of Illinois Thompson Center heard from a suburban mother of two. She claims marijuana's brought more relief from disabling migraine headaches than any treatment prescribed by her physician.

“When I’ve tried cannabis, it's eliminated my pain by about 80 percent. I've also tried a plethora of different pharmaceutical drugs that my neurologist has prescribed for these headaches. And I've not found any success,” said Jessica Hershbarger.

Migraine headaches are among 11 ailments that an advisory panel recommended several months ago that Illinois add to a list of serious medical conditions that may be treated with medical cannabis. Gov. Rauner's Administration has yet to act on the recommendations.

Also awaiting his action is Senate Bill 33. It would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list, which is a personal issue for Air Force veteran Joel Erickson.

“Pass these conditions, Governor Rauner,” Erickson said.

Eligible for treatment with cannabis is currently limited in Illinois to a few dozen very severe illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS.

While investors in medical marijuana in Illinois had hoped 100,000 patients would apply for permission to buy it, fewer than 3,000 had as of a few days ago, which is intensifying the pressure on state officials to make new illnesses eligible for treatment.

But many doctors don't agree. They say there may be anecdotes about pot's benefits for some, but little or no scientific evidence that it’s worthwhile for all.