|Graphic: The Fresh Scent|
The Illinois House on Tuesday defeated a measure that would have made Illinois the 16th state to allow patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval.
The medical marijuana bill got 53 votes, but needed 60 to pass, report Ray Long and Monique Garcia at the Chicago Tribune. Voting against the bill were 59 lawmakers, and one voted “Present.”
The measure was aimed at helping people with cancer, AIDS and other illnesses have a better quality of life, particularly after doctors have tried multiple medications that have not helped, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie).
|Photo: Chicago Reader|
|Rep. Lou Lang: “There are people who need our help”|
”There are people who need our help,” Lang said, pointing to the House gallery, where patients with chronic illnesses watched, hoping the bill would pass.
But Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Troy), a pharmacist, didn’t want the competition.
“This should be called the marijuana possession law,” Stephens said. “It doesn’t restrict the use in any one way,” he claimed.
The bill would actually have set up a series of controls to restrict access to marijuana, including requirements that doctors would have to authorize medical marijuana use by patients, and that patients would be required to get a license from state public health officials before using cannabis.
The proposal, if approved, would have expired after three years, at which time a study would have been conducted to see if the law should be made permanent.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had previously expressed support for the idea, saying those who are seriously ill should have access to any medical treatments that may help relieve their pain.
Rep. Lang, the bill’s sponsor, said he will now postpone the measure until he can find more votes.