Illinois One Vote Away From Getting Medical Marijuana


Photo: Chicago Reader

​Medical marijuana is one vote away from becoming law in Illinois.

The bill’s main sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said Saturday that he is working behind the scenes to line up the needed votes, and is just waiting for the right moment to call it for a vote in the Illinois House, reports Bob Roberts at Chicago’s WBBM.
If the measure passes and is signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois will become the 15th state to allow medicinal use of cannabis, which has been illegal in Illinois since the 1930s.

Photo: Lou Lang News Weblog
Rep. Lou Lang: Waiting for the right time to call the bill to the floor for a vote

​According to Lang, more than 90 members of the House privately support the bill — but at least 40 are refuse to vote for it because of fears about political consequences. (Which doesn’t really make much sense, with support for medical marijuana running at 81 percent.)
The bill would allow patients with a doctor’s recommendation and a state license to grow three marijuana plants.
“It requires them to get a license from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which would monitor and license each person, and it provides strict penalties for those who break the law, or use the marijuana and drive, or try to sell or distribute it,” Lang said.
Studies have shown repeatedly that marijuana is not addictive and that someone cannot overdose using it, Lang said.
As a result, Lang said, it makes a lot more sense in the treatment of chronic pain than Oxycontin or Vicodin; both of these are opiates which are addictive and can kill.
The bill has the support of Illinois Public Health Advocate Dr. Quentin Young, who is also Gov. Quinn’s personal physician.
“The medical profession has no controversy on this, to speak of,” Dr. Young said.
During a news conference at the James R. Thompson Center, Julie Falco, a woman who has had multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years, said marijuana use has not only relieved pain, it has “saved my life.”
“I was released from debilitating depression and chronic pharmaceutical side effects that almost led me to take my own life,” she said.
The bill already won approval in the Illinois Senate by a 30-28 vote more than 10 months ago. It won approval 4-3 in the Illinois House Human Services Committee, and 3-2 in the Rules Committee.
Lang said he has been promised a vote by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) — if he can muster the needed votes.
Historically, Illinois hasn’t been averse to medical marijuana, reports Andrew Greiner at NBC Chicago.
The state passed legislation in 1978 that came close to making medical marijuana legal in Illinois, but left in the measure some legal language that required state cops to sign off on the bill, reports Claire Thompson at the Chicago Reader.
And as almost all of us know, if you’re waiting until a lot of cops approve of medical marijuana, you’re never going to get it.