Illinois medical marijuana program gets boost from Rauner’s OK

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Dry medical marijuana buds

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ experiment with medical marijuana has gotten a boost thanks to a 2 1/2-year pilot program extension and the inclusion of two more medical conditions.

The extension and inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder and some terminal illnesses are part of legislation Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Thursday. On Friday, medical marijuana advocates and experts called it a turning point that gives patients guaranteed access and provides confidence to those selling and cultivating the drug.

The measure extends the pilot program until July 2020. It also streamlines how doctors approve patients and gives the governor the ability to reappoint members of the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

State Rep. Lou Lang, the Skokie Democrat who has sponsored medical marijuana proposals, said the extension and technical changes are crucial to gauging the program’s success.

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