Illinois House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Illinois House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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.”

Late last year, Rep. Lang introduced similar legislation that came close to passing, but a vote on the bill was postponed until the new legislative session began in January.

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  • Not a hippie

    This is wonderful news for the many Illinois citizens who should not be made to fear arrest for wanting relief from serious chronic illnesses just because there is self-interested opposition from those whose careers are built on arresting and prosecuting people who use drugs. I hope the Illinois House will see fit to protect the relatively small number of people who are so ill that they qualify under this bill’s strict standards, and give them a break from truly dangerous and addictive drugs we are forced to take now. I’d like nothing more than to get rid of my Vicodan and $2,000/mo. Enbrel, neither of which is particularly effective.

  • Mike

    Having worked on marijuana reform for longer (almost 4 decades) than the Illinois Legislature has been trying to come up with a medical marijuana law, I’m glad to see any incremental progress. While as a patient I support it, this is a deeply flawed law driven by the conceit that the state should still play a dominant and intrusive role in one’s healthcare — and the even more laughable notion that the state can control access to marijuana.

    So I hope it passes, but from Day 1 of it going into effect, patients need to work both to be represented as the primary interest group in seeing the law work (everybody but patients has a seat at the table in governing this, if passed). It makes no provision for low income access and has a host of other provisions that are have at best a marginal relationship to facilitating medical care, instead treating patients like a sub-class of citizens with limited rights. Frankly, half of it should be unconstitutional for that reason alone, but when you’re being treated like a criminal already, I guess the politicians think we’ll be OK with being treated like we’re half-criminal instead?

    What’s disturbing is that once it passes, it’s onerous and half-baked efforts to provide access are likely to be ignored rather than embraced by many patients unwilling to take a chance on living within its often impractical guidelines.

  • RUFUS

    I wish that Illinois does have medical marijuana dispensaries that people with severe bipolar disorder should be allowed to be prescribed medical marijuana to treat their chronic illness. I have severe bipolar disorder and the only thing that helped with my anger and rage is medical marijuana. When I used medical marijuana I’m the most friendliest person you will ever meet and nothing would make me angry, even if you punched me in the face. I would smile and tell you to have a nice day. So please pass this bill and allow people with bipolar disorder become eligible to be prescribed.

    • tkosh

      I feel your pain I am in the same boat!! There is a new brain mapping study that show PTSD patients who gain benefit from Marijuana use have an imbalance with CB1 receptors. I truly believe you and I are in that same boat but our representatives ignore science and I have just about had it with this BS!!

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