|Photo: David Reis|
|The floor of the Illinois House of Representatives. The House failed to pass a medical marijuana law on Thursday.|
For the second time in 2011, the Illinois House on Thursday defeated a bill which would have legalized medical marijuana for seriously ill patients in the state.
The measure failed with 61 “no” votes, 53 “yes” votes and four “present.” House Bill 30 needed 60 “yes” votes to pass, reports Andy Brownfield at The State Journal-Register.
The bill “is not about drugs, it is not about marijuana, it’s about health care,” said sponsor Rep. Lou Lang (D-Chicago). It will “help people who can’t get out of bed because they’re too doped up on morphine or oxycontin,” he said.
|Photo: Lou Lang News Weblog|
|Rep. Lou Lang: “How do you turn down the people who are sick?”|
”It turns out, even though there were 53 on the board, I had 58 votes,” Lang said. “Two people voted ‘no’ because they saw it was going to fail; three people voted ‘present’ because they saw it was going to fail.”
Lang said he would seek another roll call if he can find two more votes to pass the plan, vowing to make “any reasonable changes” to get those votes.
Supporters had been optimistic about the bill’s chances of passage Thursday, since House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) publicly switched sides and backed the bill last month, after voting against the previous proposal.
The measure would have started a three-year pilot program to allow people with one of a list of debilitating diseases to use cannabis medicinally.
Chronically ill patients, authorized by their doctor and the Illinois Department of Public Health, would have been allowed to buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days. They would have been allowed to possess no more than 2.5 ounces at any given time to prevent stockpiling for sale, according to Lang.
Thursday’s measure also would have created a limited number of nonprofit dispensaries, restricted the conditions for which cannabis could be used, and eliminated earlier provisions that would have allowed patients to grow their own marijuana.