|Photo: Marijuana Policy Project|
|Montel Williams: “Illinois lawmakers should act without delay to make marijuana legally available for medical use”|
Former talk show host Montel Williams will meet with members of the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday to urge them to vote in favor of SB 1381, a bill that would make Illinois the 16th state to allow chronically ill patients to use marijuana legally with the recommendation of their doctor.
The Illinois Senate passed the bill — which would create one of the most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the country — last year.
Williams, a former U.S. Navy officer, uses medical marijuana to help ease the effects of multiple sclerosis.
“Illinois lawmakers should act without delay to make marijuana legally available for medical use,” Williams said, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. “Every day that they delay is another one of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state.”
“Fifteen other states have already passed medical marijuana laws, and Illinois’s lawmakers now have an opportunity to ensure that those suffering in their state will be treated with the same compassionate care,” Williams said.
|Photo: WNPR – Connecticut Public Radio|
|Montel Williams: “Every day that they delay is another one of needless suffering for patients like me all across the state”|
More than two-thirds of Illinois voters — 68 percent — favor allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to use and grow marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor recommends it, according to a 2008 Mason-Dixon poll.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn agrees.
“People who are seriously ill deserve access to all medical treatments that will help them fight their illness and recover,” Gov. Quinn said on January 3.
Fifteen states and Washington, D.C., have passed medical marijuana laws since 1996. More than a dozen other states considered such laws in 2010.
The most recent state to legalize medical marijuana was Arizona, where voters approved a medicinal cannabis law earlier this month.
Under SB 1381, Illinois patients could get marijuana from state-licensed organizations regulated by the health department, which would also issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients who receive a recommendation from their doctor.
Public use of marijuana and driving under the influence would continue to be prohbited.
In Illinois, the bill is supported by the Illinois Nurses Association, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Protestants for the Common NGood, the Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois, and Illinois public health advocate and physician to the Governor, Dr. Quentin Young.
Nationally, the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as many other esteemed health organizations, have endorsed the medical effectiveness of marijuana.
SB 1381 has been added to the House calander for a debate and hearing on Tuesday, November 30th. If passed the amended bill would have to be once again voted on by the Senate.
Illinois residents may use NORML’s action form to contact their state legislators.