The first ever medical marijuana expo in the Quad Cities area was held Wednesday.
 
The expo, held at the Stern Center in Rock Island, focused on education. It was hosted by Nature’s Treatment of Illinois, a medical marijuana dispensary in Milan. Experts answered questions about everything from prescriptions to the different types of marijuana available.
 
Local 4’s Ashley Richmond has the story.
 
“It’s a chronic pain all the time,” said Dalton Kettering.
 
Kettering suffers from seizures, post-concussion syndrome, and a severed nerve in his neck. He used to take pain-killers every day, but he says switching to medical marijuana changed his life.
 
“I’m able to work a lot better because I can actually stand the pain. It’s nice to have something that actually helps,” said Kettering.
 
Dalton’s story is just one of many that have been coming out since medical cannabis sales started in Illinois last November. 
 
Nature’s Treatment of Illinois opened in February. Sales were sluggish at first, but once people started seeing results, word spread quickly.
 
“Its just amazing to see somebody come in and they’re sick and they’re hurting and some are at the point where they’re about to give up. Then they come back a week or two later and they’re like ‘thank you so much’,” said Matt Stern, owner of Nature’s Treatment of Illinois.
 
Illinois’ medical marijuana program was set to expire in 2017, but the House and Senate recently approved a measure to extend it through 2020. Now it just needs to be signed by Governor Rauner. The measure would add terminal illnesses and post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s list of conditions that qualify for cannabis treatment.
 
Extending Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program will not only give more people access to treatment; It takes some of the pressure off doctors who prescribe it. Dispensary owners are hoping that brings more people in the door, and takes away some of the stigma that comes along with the drug.
 
“Some doctors are not quite clear of the actual value.  there may be other treatments that doctors prefer instead,” said Dr. William McDade of the University of Chicago’s school of Medicine and Biological Sciences.
 
Despite some lingering hesitation, many think once people see the results, there won’t be nearly as much pushback.
 
“The stigma’s changing slowly. There’s wave going across the state where people are starting to see the benefits, so they’re speaking about it. So now, medical cannabis is kind of the hot topic to talk about. It’s the green rush,” said Dalton Gamboe, Dispensary Manager at Nature’s Treatment of Illinois.
 
Local 4 News reached out to lawmakers who voted not to extend Illinois’ medical marijuana pilot program, but we have not yet received a response .