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Legislative Update
Posted on: 8/1/2013

Hither and Yon

Gov. Quinn signs medical marijuana legislation

Just yesterday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed H.B. 1, the medical marijuana proposal to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Illinois, making the Land of Lincoln the 20th state to permit medical marijuana. The new law will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

ISMS President Eldon A. Trame, MD, said in a statement that the Society remains neutral on the legislation and has several ongoing concerns, including that federal law currently prohibits the possession, use and distribution of marijuana. As a Schedule I drug, federal law also prohibits the prescribing of marijuana. The Illinois law requires a written certification of a patient's condition to obtain medical marijuana rather than a prescription. This use of different authorization to obtain the product may cause a conflict between Illinois and federal law.

When the American Medical Association reviewed this issue, it called for additional well-controlled studies on the efficacy of cannabinoids used for the purpose of medical treatment. Such study is still needed to determine whether there are appropriate therapeutic uses for cannabinoids, how they should be used and the method they should be delivered.

ISMS will be offering a detailed explanation of this legislation in the near future, outlining patient and physician responsibilities as required by the new law.

SGR repeal gains traction

Earlier this week in Washington, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed H.R. 2810, the Medicare Patient Access and Quality Improvement Act of 2013, with a unanimous vote of 51-0.

Music to physicians' ears, this bill aims to "repeal and replace" the Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) and includes a five-year period of stability, with 0.5 percent updates, while new delivery and payment models are developed.

This is the first step in a continuing legislative process; ISMS will keep you informed of any future developments.

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