Judge Orders Illinois To Add PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

Jun 29, 2016

A Cook County judge has ordered Illinois to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment in a case filed by a military veteran.

Judge Neil Cohen on Tuesday ordered the Department of Public Health's director to add PTSD within 30 days.

The sternly worded ruling says Director Nirav Shah "engaged in a private investigation, hidden from public view" that was "constitutionally inappropriate."

This case was filed by Army veteran Dan Jabs, who served in Iraq. The decision is the first to result from lawsuits filed by patients disappointed with across-the-board rejection of recommendations from Gov. Bruce Rauner's  advisory board.

“I provided evidence from medical journals indicating that cannabis should be used for PTSD,” Jabs said. “So if you want to argue with the science, go ahead, but you can’t just sit there and say no.”

Seven other lawsuits are pending in Cook County from patients seeking to have other conditions added to the medical cannabis pilot program.

Attorney Michael Goldberg says his client "feels this decision gives him and other military veterans suffering from PTSD the respect they deserve from the state and the governor's office."

Goldberg says Shah provided no evidence to dismiss the opinion of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

“It’s important to note that the advisory board is made up of experts appointed by the governor’s office,” the attorney added, “so that’s the governor’s own advisory board.”

Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold says the case is under review. Fifteen states have medical marijuana laws that include PTSD.

A bill that passed the Illinois General Assembly recently would immediately add PTSD -- as well as terminal illness -- to the list of conditions that qualify for medical cannabis.  The measure also would extend the pilot program from 2018 to July 2020. Rauner is expected to sign the bill.

  • Illinois Public Radio’s Jeff Bossert and the Associated Press contributed to this story.