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Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Am Outraged!



I Am Outraged!

Thank you Illinois for trying to make your citizens criminals AGAIN.

After years of being torn between respite from pain, nausea, horrible side effects from currently available drug and arrest, Illinois medical marijuana users were excited when Illinois passed the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in 2013.  

For so many years Illinois residents had been forced to choose between using medical marijuana, which was illegal and living with the painful, debilitating ,effects of a host of chronic or terminal illnesses and the dangerous pharmaceuticals that were commonly prescribed for them.  Finally with the passage of this act patients were no longer faced with the prospect of having to break law or receive relief. 

It is important to note that the medical cannabis program in Illinois is only a pilot program at this juncture, slated for a four  year run that became effective January 1, 2014. Discussion among some skeptics wondered if perhaps Illinois would drag their various departmental feet and essentially never get the program up and running before the expiration of the pilot program.  

Surprisingly, the Illinois Department of Public Health posted 48 pages of draft regulations online. on January 22nd 2014. Those familiar with the state of Illinois will see this as an absolutely speedy response.  The department also is opening an informal public comment period before submitting the proposal officially to the state when more comments will be accepted.

As I read through the document in its entirety, I found some of the proposed rules a bit onerous and burdensome. Indeed, some I felt could be considered barriers to care to those severely disabled and unable to travel outside of their homes without great difficulty. In turn,  some I felt most appropriate and sensible, such as the need to be in an established relationship with a physician vs just a onetime consult with a doc in the box. 

Then I read the following, and my head exploded.


ILLINOIS REGISTER DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH DRAFT NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULES
“That the applicant understands that a qualifying patient or designated caregiver with a current Firearm Owners Identification Card or a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit who is approved for a registry identification card shall be in violation of and may not possess firearms under relevant state and federal law.As such , registered qualifying patients and designated caregivers are not eligible for a Firearm Owners Identification Card or a Firearm Concealed Carry License and may be subject to administrative proceedings by the Illinois State Police if they do not voluntarily surrender such card or license”


Illinois has once again made me decide whether or not I want to be a criminal. If I apply for a medical cannabis card, so that I can legally use a medication that works extremely well in treating the neuropathic pain and spasticity associated with MS; enabling me to enjoy hunting and shooting sports  again by improving my abilities to be on my feet longer, walk longer distance, not suffer from such debilitating fatigue, fog and an in general “stoned/snowed” feeling from the current treatments. I have to surrender my Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID), I cannot hold a Firearm Concealed Carry License, nor can I or my caregiver possess firearms.

This puts me in the position of having to yet once again decide if I want to be a “criminal” and risk arrest. Do I apply for a Medical Cannabis Card, thus making my  use of this medication legal in Illinois, and just blithely sign away my rights as a firearm owner forever in Illinois, and hand over every firearm in our household?  Or do I keep my firearms, and risk arrest for having them in my possession while holding a medical marijuana card, alternately, I can keep my firearms, refuse to apply for the medical marijuana card, and risk arrest.  

No matter how many ways I look it, I feel like the State of Illinois  is giving no reasonable option other to engage in some type of criminal and illegal behavior. 

The whole point, the whole reason, to wish to be able to obtain a medical marijuana card is that currently legal treatments have side effects that significantly reduce my quality of life, cause ridiculous, damaging, and long term physical side effects, and impair my abilities physically and cognitively.
  
I am unable to fathom how it’s perfectly legal and acceptable for me to retain my FOID Card and firearms while being treated with various controlled substances that clearly impair judgement, reaction times, and physical dexterity yet be required to surrender said FOID card and firearms in order to receive a medication that solves those problems, increases my quality of life, decreases my pain and enables me to live a productive life. 

Thanks for nothing Illinois. Thanks for absolutely nothing. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this could very well set a very dangerous precedent tying fire arm ownership to legal medication use.  If this flies, be prepared for a longer list of reasons that one may not be eligible for a FOID card, one that could very well include a medication that YOU find lifesaving.

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