Your Aug. 5 editorial ("Illinois stumbles into medical marijuana")calling for physician leadership now that medical marijuana is permissible in Illinois does not fall on deaf ears. However, it is an unfair criticism to take aim at my organization’s neutral stance during the legislative debate on this law.

Your point about the inconsistency between the rules of the states that have adopted medical marijuana legislation is a good one. We harbor similar concern over inconsistency between our new state law and existing federal law.

Federal law prohibits the prescription of Schedule I controlled substances—which includes marijuana—because they have no approved medical usage. The new Illinois law allows physicians to certify bona fide patients to obtain medical marijuana. Certification is not the same as prescribing, the latter of which would put physicians in violation of federal law.

It remains to be seen what actions federal authorities may take in response to the new paradigm of state-approved medical marijuana. Therefore, we’ve argued for a cautious approach that doesn’t place a physician between his or her patient and government bureaucrats.

There are many perspectives on the use of medical marijuana. Some physicians indeed support its legalization for patient use; however, many of our medical colleagues do not. For example, some addiction medicine specialists and emergency department doctors have deep expressed concern over any marijuana legalization, medical or not.

They hold this view because they are the physicians who most commonly deal with the accidents, addiction and other negative consequences associated with impairment. While there is evidence to suggest certain patients find relief from use of marijuana, developing a sensible policy solution for marijuana is a very complex endeavor.

As the organization for Illinois doctors, ISMS channels the voices of many physician and patient perspectives into sensible policy solutions. Medical marijuana is now the reality in Illinois, but there are numerous issues to work out and rules to be developed before certifications begin on January 1. We stand ready to work with policymakers, patients, physicians and others during the implementation phase of this law.

Dr. Eldon A. Trame, of Belleville, Ill.,  is president of the Illinois State Medical Society.

(4) comments

Cannabis Patient

Patent 5560507 for the neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties of cannabis PROVES that cannabis has medicinal value. (

There has never been a single overdose death due to cannabis. Prescription drugs are the number one killer in America today.
According to the CDC, "Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher. In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs." We SHOULD be trying to get prescription medications off the streets!!!

In 1974 an NIH study PROVED cannabis inhibited the growth of cancer cells.
"In 1974 researchers the Medical College of Virginia was funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that cannabis caused damage to the immune system. During their studies they found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice; lung cancer, breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia. You would think this new research would have sparked major interest in cannabis to treat cancer, but this was not the case.""

OVER 25 YEARS AGO, DEA Judge Francis L Young testified that Cannabis should be rescheduled under federal law.
The ruling, issued in 1988 by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling,” determined: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”

There is NO EXCUSE to deny me or any other sick patient medical cannabis. I will NOT BACK DOWN!! I will NOT take prescription meds ever again!! I did not SURVIVE two brain surgeries to die on dialysis!!

It's time for politicians and physicians alike to take responsibility for educating themselves about cannabis and stop hiding behind the lies of prohibition. WE ARE VOTING OUT THE UNEDUCATED POLITICIANS!! NO MORE LAWS BASED ON LIES!!!! We got the law voted in. Now do your jobs and provide a legal way for us to medicate ourselves!!


As an emergency physician (and a member of the Illinois State Medical Society), I can affirm that patients do present to the ED with problems/complications due to marijuana use. I have several concerns over the legalization of marijuana for non-medical use, but do support very limited and controlled medical use.

I have heard first hand about how easy it is to get marijuana in other states that have made the legal use of medical marijuana the law. I share Dr. Trame's concern about the appropriate use of medical marijuana, and having sane, consistent laws/guidelines is imperative. I further have grave concerns about the repercussions of prescribing a medication that, by such prescription, breaks federal law.

claygooding, you are clearly a cannabis use supporter. However, statements that only reflect loyalty to your cause and unfairly undermine another's motives/beliefs are unhelpful to the discussion. Further, I do not care what Dr. Guptka has to say about Cannabis if prescribing Cannabis breaks federal law and I put my license at risk, as well as put my freedom at risk by potentially exposing myself to prosecution and jail time.


I would suggest every doctor in Illinois erase everything the federal government has told them about cannabis and watch the CNN special from Dr Guptka Friday night.


""For example, some addiction medicine specialists and emergency department doctors have deep expressed concern over any marijuana legalization, medical or not.""

Addiction medicine specialists are protecting their guaranteed source of income from court ordered marijuana addicts that aren't addicts..
I cannot understand the reason emergency room doctors would care,,since nobody has found any harmful drug interaction from cannabis use. I suspect this is just an assumption on the writers research that marijuana was the most listed drug in emergency room visits but has nothing to do with why the patient visited the emergency room. All the statistic proves is how popular cannabis is,not any gauge of it's safety or danger.

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