Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Likely to Become Law without Gov. Quinn's Signature

Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Likely to Become Law without Gov. Quinn's Signature

SPRINGFIELD, IL —  Illinois residents continue to wait for Democrat Governor Pat Quinn to sign House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, passed by the legislature in May.

Even though the bill creates only a four year medical marijuana pilot program, advocates, who call the bill a “great first step,” have been anxiously awaiting action by Gov. Quinn on the bill, which  he has indicated he supports but has not indicated if he will sign or veto.

UPDATE: Governor Quinn’s office announced today that he will sign the bill Thursday.

If Governor Quinn signs House Bill 1, Illinois becomes the 20th state to allow medical marijuana.  If Governor Quinn vetoes the bill, the decade-long push for medical marijuana in Illinois will continue.

But if Governor Quinn fails to take action on the bill by Sunday, Illinois will find itself as the 20th medical marijuana state come Monday morning.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has had nearly 60 days to sign or veto House Bill 1. Next Monday, the bill is set to automatically become law.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has had nearly 60 days to sign or veto House Bill 1. Next Monday, the bill is set to automatically become law.

Under Illinois law, if the Governor fails to sign or veto a bill within 60 days of receiving it from the legislature, the bill automatically becomes law.

House Bill 1 was sent to the Governor’s desk on June 5, and the clock is ticking, with the 60 days set to expire Sunday, August 4.

Governor Quinn’s lack of action on the bill could signify support of the bill, while taking the politically safe stance of having no opinion.

At a press conference following the legislature’s passage of the bill in May, Gov. Quinn addressed the issue of medical marijuana and the pending bill, sympathizing with with the plight of veterans who will benefit under House Bill 1.

“It’s an important bill,” said Gov. Quinn. “I’m going to look at the bill from top to bottom, as we do every bill.  But I’m very open minded on this.”

Since then, Quinn has remained silent, and House Bill 1 remains unsigned, although the News-Gazette reports that Gov. Quinn will act on the bill “next week.”

House Bill 1 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.

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.

Under the four-year pilot program outlined in the Illinois bill, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of 33 debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS in order to qualify for medical marijuana. Patients must register with the state’s health department and have written certification from their physicians.

Patients will be limited to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of marijuana every two weeks. The marijuana must be grown  in Illinois, kept in a closed container, and not used in public or in front of minors.

Those who use, grow or sell medical marijuana must be fingerprinted and undergo background checks during the application process. Patients suspected of driving under the influence face the loss of not only their driving privileges, but also their medical marijuana cards.



  • claygooding

    With over 80% of American voters supporting the use of marijuana as a medicine some politicians can’t get it through their heads that their personal opinion on marijuana as a medicine doesn’t matter.

    • bigfoot14

      Hi Clay…..
      This is Governor Jello we are talking about……and the state of Illinois……
      outside of the Chicagoland area, there is very little political support for this bill,
      so even if the the polls show huge support, Governor Jello, will take the safest, least controversial route, and let the bill become law without his signature

      • jdub

        What do you mean? The bill passed with majority support with its biggest anti cannabis senators from Chicago

        • Bigfoot14

          Yes it passed the senate with a majority (35 – 21)……
          but remember, it barely got past the Illinois house (61 -57)…..
          over the past 4 years the House sponsor (rep Lu Lang D – Skokie)
          had to keep making the bill more and more restrictive to just get it out of committee —and keep in mind that there are 70 democrats in the Illinois house…..

      • Mike

        Very Downstate here. If you look at politicians to gauge support, you’re looking in the wrong place. That’s mostly all about seeing the other guy go swimming first so you know there are no piranhas in the water. Politicians are chickens, particularly in Illinois. Besides, listening to them got us in the pension mess we’re in, right? I know about counting votes in the state house, but politics is also about forcing those folks to do the right thing even when their courage is weak.

        Ask people on the street or read opinions in many forums and you’ll see what you see everywhere else. Solid majority support for MMJ. I think the last poll in Illinois placed it at something like 80% in favor. The people have spoken. There is no need for any politicians to fear a vote in support of MMJ, only their gutless conscience.

        One factor that’s rarely mentioned is AG Lisa Madigan’s crazed anti-drug rantery, for which her father surely supports her. If Dad Madigan had been in favor of this, it would’ve sailed through years ago. He famous for not saying much about anything, but keep an eye on what happens around him and you can see the maggots crawling. He clearly opposed it and the conservative Dems found shelter under his wing.

        What he probably fears is what I’ve been thinking about lately. Both the Dems and the Reps should start facing primary challenges from clearly identified “Anti-Prohibitionist Dems” or “Anti-Prohibitionist Reps.” No need for Greens to do so, because they’re already in the right place.:) It’s time for a new generation of politicians and if we can get some in there that will work together on one issue across party lines, that may help get other things off dead-center and start doing the people’s business, which Illinois so badly needs. And their support, even possible election will invigorate the drive to full legalization.

        • Bigfoot14

          Hi Mike
          By very downstate –you mean anywhere south of I 80 ??

          You bring up some very valid points…..

          Daddy and Lisa both need to be voted out……

          and a few more pro-legalization candidates would be good….

          • Mike

            Yep, not Cairo, but definitely south of I-80.

            Yes, this is an issue that is fraught with generational change. The politicians can’t control it, which is why they fear it even though the polls say it’s a slam dunk thing that draws extensive bi-partisan support.

            Despite all the song and dance about making this a “tough” bill — as if people can’t find cannabis now and need the state’s help. What they really need is to be left alone, but no….

            In typical Illinois fashion, they’ve avoided the easy solution and given us a ponderous, top-heavy program that won’t do half of what they seem to think it will for people. It’s a damn good thing it’s just a trial program, as it will need serious revision from Day 1 even if it takes the full four years to get it…and that would be moving at light speed for Illinois.

  • jdub

    5 days and counting