Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Advancing, Could See Vote Soon

Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Advancing, Could See Vote Soon

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A bill to allow Illinois residents to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their debilitating medical conditions is gaining the support of lawmakers at the State House, has cleared several committees, and could see a third reading, followed by debate and a vote, on the floor of the House this week.

The bill, House Bill 1, introduced by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), has quietly cleared several committees in April, and an amended version could see a vote as early as Thursday afternoon, although a vote next week is more likely.

Both the  House Human Services Committee and House Rules Committee have recommended the bill’s passage, with minor amendments.

The most significant amendment, which changes the bill from taking effect immediately after passage to January 1, 2014, was approved Wednesday.

If passed, the bill would create a four-year pilot program to 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.

Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of Marijuana.  The Maryland legislature voted to approve a bill that would create a medical marijuana program through the state’s research hospitals, but that bill has yet to be approved by the Governor, and has been heavily criticized by medical marijuana patient groups who are calling Maryland the “18 1/2″ medical marijuana state.

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  • muggles

    Thank you Illinois…please move forward because you are leading the way and a lot of very sick people benifit from this resonable thinking.

  • Steven Yaniz

    I need my medication so i can get off the Welbutrin, Xanax and control both my depression and my anxiety. Get it done already. Plus it helps my wife’s epilepsy and migraines and gets her real horny :)

  • Nohandsjoe

    Why not,Heroin is already legal in Illinois with a vendor on every corner in the hood.

  • healthier than the pharma

    I use it for my MS. It helps me so much. I swear by it. I’ll say it to the world. I also have kidney issues. This has no side effects!!!!

  • your choice

    It doesn’t kill anyone

  • your choice

    It helps tremendously for MS.

  • mike graham

    Illinois would be 18.500000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001

  • toborg214

    They were going to shoot it down at first then some of there family got sick and that’s why it will pass. Cause they don’t care about anyone else.

  • Mike

    Good luck, Illinois.

    The primary reason this is taking so long and the law itself keeps getting weirder, more expensive, and likely to help fewer, richer people is tied to the current struggle within the Illinois Democratic Party between Mike Madigan, speaker of the IL House and father of Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Gov. Pat Quinn, who is likely to face Ms. Madigan in the Democratic governor primary race.

    Ms. Madigan takes every opportunity to make political hay and cozies up to law enforcement every chance she gets. So far, she’s been notably silent on medical marijuana, perhaps parsing which side of the issue will bring her a greater advantage. Gov. Quinn has a good heart, but often seem to lack the street-fighting grit required to take on the Madigan/Chicago machine, so he has taken a similarly ambiguous stand.

    These gutless wonders are typical of most in the state legislature, which accounts for the fact that Illinois has been working on an effective MMJ law for about 35 years now. Will it be this year? Who knows. I don’t vote for anyone who hasn’t taken a clearcut stand in favor of MMJ. Those who contact their local politrickians should be similarly blunt — vote for the MMJ law or your vote is lost to them.

    The law in its current form is lame and top heavy with expensive bureaucracy, appears to have no provisions for reduced costs for those with limited incomes, no home grow provision, an F-ed up per se provision re driving, the list goes on. The law itself is so complex it seems more like it was designed to keep busting MMJ patients, but for technical infractions of the MMJ law, instead of for possession. Not sure how much of an advance this is except for the turkeys putting the law together and claiming progress, but patients like me are desperate as our health — and freedom — suffers without any legal access.

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