"Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial."
That was the message Tuesday of nearly 250 Illinois doctors to legislators considering passing House Bill 1, which would allow for medical marijuana use in the Land of Lincoln.
Three of the nearly 250 doctors spokes at a press conference Tuesday, along with patient Julie Falco who testified that marijuana helps her control her multiple sclerosis symptoms.
"You could be going through something, and would you not want to have that option ... Wouldn't you want to try something instead of just going out without that option to have a better quality of life?" Falco said. "I beg you."
She went on to say that she "found enormous benefit right off the get-go. It calmed the leg spasticity. It helped with my bladder urgency. I wasn't racing to the bathroom and wondering if I was going to fall down."
The three doctors also spoke, noting that marijuana is a safe and harmless therapeutic drug, especially when compared to other narcotics used to treat pain.
Currently, HB 1 is up before the House for a third reading later today. If passed, patients would be able to possess up to two and a half ounces and up to 60 medical marijuana dispensaries would be licensed by the state. Patients would not be allowed to grow their own.
Attempts to pass medical marijuana legislation in the past - including an attempt in January - have failed in the House, despite meeting approval in the state Senate. Supporters are hopeful that if the bill does pass through the House, it will meet little resistance in the Senate.