Product on the shelves at Green Tree Medicinals, in Longmont on Dec. 9, 2015. (Lewis Geyer, Daily Camera)

Big changes for Illinois medical marijuana await gov’s OK

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An expansion of the Illinois medical marijuana program by 2 ½ years won lawmakers’ approval and goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Senate agreed 50-7 Tuesday with House changes to the plan extending a pilot program and to add post-traumatic stress disorder as a medical condition treatable with cannabis.

Republican Rauner supports the plan.

The four-year pilot program was approved in 2014 but medical-cannabis sales were delayed until last November. The legislation extends the program from late 2017 to July 1, 2020.

Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon (meh-TOON’) Republican, says lawmakers should slow down. He says they should review research about marijuana’s possible adverse effect on PTSD symptoms.

Sen. William Haine, the Alton Democrat sponsoring the measure, says it can ease suffering.