Medical marijuana will soon be available to Illinois patients that qualify for the Illinois medical marijuana program. Illinois has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country. Illinois recently added epilepsy to the list of qualifying conditions. The rules surrounding distribution of medical marijuana in Illinois is still getting worked out. But at least one hospital would like to dispense medical marijuana, eventually.
Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago understands that until federal law changes, they will likely not be able to dispense medical marijuana. But it hasn't stopped the hospital from expressing interest in eventually becoming a dispensary. Per the Chicago Tribune:
"As long as there's no change to the federal law, we couldn't jeopardize services by becoming a dispensary ... but we're not afraid of making the noise," said Marcia Jimenez, hospital director of intergovernmental affairs.
Some hospitals have taken small, limited steps toward working with marijuana. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, for instance, has been granted federal permission to take part in a clinical trial of Epidiolex, a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative used to treat children with severe epilepsy.
It makes me sad to know that a hospital, which is in the business of helping sick people, can't dispense a state approved substance because of federal law. The hospital can dispense harmful pharmaceuticals all day, but cannabis is singled out because of political posturing by the federal government. I can't wait until Illinois gets a real medical marijuana program, or even better, full legalization, so that patients don't have to go without their medicine.