Medical marijuana bill moves to Illinois House for a vote


Illinois is one step closer to having medical marijuana laws on the books after a bipartisan subcommittee approved HB0001 to move into the House for a full vote. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time bills have made it this far only to find their demise before the entire House.
If passed, the Illinois medical marijuana bill would allow patients to possess up to two and a half ounces, which they could replenish at one of 60 proposed, state-regulated dispensaries every two weeks. Herb would be grown in 22 cultivation facilities scattered across Illinois.

Illinoid State Rep. Lou Lang.

The most recent attempt at creating medical marijuana laws was in January , but after passing through the Senate the bill failed by just four votes in the House. Despite the long history of medical marijuana being voted down, State Sen. Lou Lang, who sponsored the bill, says the more likely to pass through due to more strict regulations than previous incarnations – namely that the bill merely creates a four-year pilot program that will be reevaluated.
“We wanted to make it as tight and as highly regulated as possible, (and) we could to give this a try for four years so we can convince members of the General Assembly that it should be a permanent program,” Lang told the Springfield State Journal-Register. “Many people sat around a table drafting and redrafting this to make it very tight and controlled. This is clearly modeling legislation for the country.”
Predictably, there’s opposition from police groups who say the bill would create unsafe roadways filled with stoned drivers – even though that hasn’t been the case at all in any of the 18 states that do allow cannabis. Also, as we reported in January, at least one small town has already passed a ban on medical marijuana businesses even though such enterprises technically can’t exist yet. And they say marijuana users are paranoid.
Currently, possessing up to 30 grams is a misdemeanor that can get you anywhere from 30 days to a year in jail in Illinois. No fines, though. Having more than 30 grams is a felony with a mandatory one-year sentence and up to $25,000 in fines. Cultivation of less than five plants is punishable by up to a year in prison. More than five plants gets you into felony ranges with as much as 20 years possible for those found growing more than 200 plants. Paraphernalia possession is a misdemeanor charge with up to a year in jail and a $750 fine.