Governor should add intractable pain to condition list, not fight it

02072017CM0236 mCHICAGO – Given a choice between showing compassion for those suffering from chronic pain or pursuing a costly legal battle, the Rauner administration should choose compassion, Senator Heather Steans said today.

Steans (D-Chicago) called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to expand access to Illinois’ medical marijuana program by adding intractable pain to the qualifying condition list rather than appeal a judge’s order that the condition be added.

Intractable pain is a severe form of chronic pain that is constant and incurable. It can be resistant to treatment, but some patients can benefit from using medical cannabis.

“Gov. Rauner needs to drop the appeal and allow patients with intractable pain to have access to medical cannabis,” Steans said. “Patients should have an alternative to opioids that doesn’t force them to turn to the black market for medicine.”

A patient with intractable pain recently sued the Illinois Department of Public Health over rejecting her petition to add intractable pain to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. A Cook County judge ordered the IDPH director to add it to the list last week.

“It’s time for the governor to show some compassion for Illinoisans who are suffering from severe, life-altering pain and allow them to access medical cannabis for relief,” Steans said.

Senator Steans at a public health hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabisCHICAGO – Issues of teen use and cannabis public education programs were discussed today at the Senate and House committee hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabis.

The committee also heard testimony on issues with the current medical marijuana program from patients and doctors and discussed the opioid epidemic in Illinois.

State Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead Senate sponsor of a measure to tax and regulate cannabis in Illinois. She chaired today’s hearing.

“I hope that by passing this legislation we will make it more difficult for teens to access marijuana,” Steans said.

“As a mother of young adults, I have studied the effect marijuana can have on developing brains and think we need to do everything in our power to keep it out of their hands. However many teenagers have relatively easy access to marijuana within our current system, proving once again that prohibition doesn’t work. By implementing a tax-and-regulate system, they would need to show an ID to enter the dispensary.”

According to a report published last year from Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment, past-month marijuana use among Colorado adolescents is nearly identical to the national average and has remained unchanged. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report in 2016 which found that teen use had not significantly changed nationally since legalization.

Legalizing adult-use cannabis not only touches on public health issues, but also affects the criminal justice system and revenue.

“It no longer makes sense to promote antiquated drug policies that disproportionally impact communities of color and at a high cost to taxpayers,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“Legalizing marijuana is an important step in right-sizing our criminal justice system, reducing racial disparities in drug prosecution and generating much-needed revenue. We cannot afford to let long-standing stereotypes and misinformation prevent us from finding common-sense solutions on behalf of our residents.”

An executive from Chicago-based Aclara Research testified at today’s hearing about the role legalized cannabis could play in battling the opioid addiction epidemic in Illinois. A recent independently financed study by Aclara showed that a significant number of patients stopped using opioids once they tried medical cannabis.

“Because of the limitations of the medical marijuana program, patients are forced into the black market to purchase medicine,” Steans said. “By passing this legislation, we would open the market to patients who are currently not covered under the medical marijuana program that may be turning to opioids.”

Senator Steans at a public health hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabisCHICAGO – Issues of teen use and cannabis public education programs were discussed today at the Senate and House committee hearing on legalizing adult-use cannabis.

The committee also heard testimony on issues with the current medical marijuana program from patients and doctors and discussed the opioid epidemic in Illinois.

State Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, is the lead Senate sponsor of a measure to tax and regulate cannabis in Illinois. She chaired today’s hearing.

“I hope that by passing this legislation we will make it more difficult for teens to access marijuana,” Steans said.

“As a mother of young adults, I have studied the effect marijuana can have on developing brains and think we need to do everything in our power to keep it out of their hands. However many teenagers have relatively easy access to marijuana within our current system, proving once again that prohibition doesn’t work. By implementing a tax-and-regulate system, they would need to show an ID to enter the dispensary.”

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Senator Steans

January 9, 2018

Dear Friends,

 

Senator Steans and Representative Cassidy in a committee hearing

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.

 

Robert Reed from the Chicago Tribune recently reached out to me to discuss how legislation that Representative Cassidy and I introduced to legalize adult-use cannabis could spur economic development in Illinois. We talked about business investment interest in this burgeoning field and how employers can maintain a zero-tolerance drug policy in the workplace under our initiative.

 

We also discussed the New Frontier Data study that estimates that nationally there could be more than 250,000 jobs linked to the cannabis industry by 2020. You can read the full article here.

 

As many of you may have heard, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that he was rescinding an Obama-era policy that discouraged U.S. attorneys from prosecuting operations in states that legalized marijuana. This change will not diminish our efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis in Illinois.

 

We will continue to work on this issue in the upcoming legislative session. At a public hearing later this month, experts will testify about the public health effects of legalizing adult-use cannabis.

 

As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 773-769-1717 or reach out online with any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,
Heather Steans
Senator Heather Steans
7th District – Illinois

 

Defending women’s rights

 

I recently appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss a new law that protects a woman’s right to choose in Illinois regardless of where she works, how much she makes or what happens at the federal level. Without this legislation, a “trigger” law would have kicked in, banning abortion services in Illinois if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

 

Shortly after the governor signed House Bill 40 into law, conservative lawmakers and anti-choice groups filed a lawsuit to block its implementation. A judge dismissed their case, but they are appealing.

 

Click the video below to watch the segment:

Sen. Steans on Chicago Tonight discussing a new law to protect women's rights

 

 

Care packages for homeless detainees

 

My office is working with Representative Cassidy and the Sheriff’s Justice Institute to help homeless detainees by providing them with a care package when they are released from Cook County Jail. We are collecting the following items:

  • New socks for men and women

  • Hats

  • Sample or hotel-sized toiletries

  • Gallon-sized baggies
  • Gift cards

Please drop off donations in the marked box in the lobby of our office at 5533 N. Broadway. We will collect items through mid-January.

 

 

District Office

5533 N. Broadway • Chicago, IL 60640

773-769-1717 (Phone) • 773-769-6901 (Fax)

 

Springfield Office

623 Capitol Building • Springfield, IL 62706

217-782-8492 (Phone)

 

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Contact Us

District Office
5533 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Office: 773-769-1717
Fax: 773-769-6901

Springfield Office
623 Capitol Building
301 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: 217-782-8492