SPRINGFIELD, IL – A bill to allow Illinois residents to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their debilitating medical conditions moved one step closer to becoming law Wednesday when it was approved 11-4 by the House Health and Human Services Committee.
It will now advance to the full 118-member House of Representatives for a vote.
House Bill 1, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), would allow people suffering from specific medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
“This is clearly model legislation for the country if we pass it,” said state Rep. Lang. “Why would we not help these people under very controlled circumstances?”
Qualified patients would be able to obtain marijuana from one of up to 60 dispensaries, which would acquire marijuana from up to 22 cultivation centers.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and Department of Financial & Professional Regulation would regulate the cultivation, acquisition, and distribution of marijuana.
“Seriously ill people who receive significant relief from their use of marijuana should not be treated like criminals,” said Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project. “If their doctors believe treating their conditions with medical marijuana will improve the quality of their lives, they should not have to risk being arrested and prosecuted.
“Marijuana is more effective, less addictive, and poses fewer and less severe side effects than many of the narcotics they are currently being prescribed. Patients with serious illnesses should be allowed to make personal medical decisions based on the advice of their physicians, without interference by law enforcement or government officials who lack medical training and expertise.”