Some Illinois health systems say no to medical marijuana

CHICAGO (AP) — Patients must have a doctor’s signature to buy medical marijuana in Illinois. But some health systems are forbidding doctors from providing one because the drug is still illegal at the federal level.

Other systems are cautiously allowing doctors to participate, even conducting training sessions to make sure doctors know their legal responsibilities.

Illinois is among 23 states that permit marijuana for medical use, but hesitance from the medical establishment may be one reason only 2,800 patients have qualified for the program.

Southern Illinois Healthcare and Southern Illinois University are preventing doctors from formally recommending marijuana, citing the federal view of the drug as a controlled substance with no accepted medical use.

Illinois State Medical Society President Dr. Scott Cooper says doctors are cautious and want “to test the waters.”