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Medical cannabis patients rally in Springfield

November 28, 2012

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Medical cannabis patients and advocates lobbied elected officials at the Illinois State Capitol Nov. 27 in an attempt to become the 19th state to legalize the plant for medicinal purposes.

Lawmakers in Illinois have previously debated this issue, and after the recent votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize cannabis (herbal cannabinoids), there is hope Illinois can join the list of those allowing doctors to recommend its use by patients.

This legislation has been drafted and revised with every intention of protecting patients from arrest and giving law enforcement the tools needed to ensure it won’t be abused,” said Dan Linn, executive director of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Over the years, we’ve amended these bills and changed them trying to appease lawmakers, but have never been able to get enough votes to change the actual law. It has taken us so long to get this through that our original sponsor years ago, a former sheriff, State Rep. Larry McKeon, has since passed away due to complications of cancer and AIDS. He was the first openly gay member of the legislature, and he helped get this bill off the ground.”

Lawmakers will be considering House Bill 30, The Illinois Compassionate Use Act. The bill would create a pilot program for three years, allow doctors to recommend cannabis for very specific conditions and create 59 nonprofit establishments for patients to acquire their medicine. Unlike other states that have legalized cannabis for patients and their caregivers, this bill would not allow them to grow their medicine.

Patients participating in the Nov. 27 rally in Springfield educated lawmakers about the benefits of herbal cannabinoid therapeutics and met with lawmakers before they went into their fall veto session.

Ali Nagib, Illinois NORML’s assistant director, noted the importance of being active: “If people cannot make it to Springfield but want to help, they should call their State Representative and Senator. It is also helpful to let the governor know how important this is.”

The Capitol Switchboard phone number is (217) 782-2000, and an operator can connect supporters to elected officials.

From the Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2012, issue


  1. Nakae Gresham

    November 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I’m 22 years old, and I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in August of 2011 before then, and still now I have constant visits to different doctors trying to find a medication that works best for me. As of right now I have tried different medication for pain, spasm, and even medication to make me have an appetite and it seems like nothing has work besides marijuwana. I really hate getting it because I’m afraid to because it is illegal in Illinois but if it was legal I really think it would help me, and other people with diseases especially people like me with MS because we face an unpredictable, and very sickly disease that not only doesn’t have a cure but doctors don’t even know how or where it came from so why not give us something to cope with our disease? Every second of the day more and more people get diagnosed with MS and for doctors not to know why, how, or even be able to cure it is unexceptable, and we need something to stop the pain even if it’s only for a few hrs or so.

  2. Nakae Gresham

    November 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    No one can tell me they know how I feel not even a person that has MS too because no two people gets the same sever symptoms.

  3. Kay Daniel

    November 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

    This bill stomps all over the rights of local law makers and corporations to protect families and workers. In states with Medical marijuana, youth marijuana usage rates have doubled. Recent studies show that marijuana use among youth causes a perminent drop in IQ by up to 8 points. Who wants to get stupid? – Go smoke your brains away! This will harm far more youth than the number of chronically and terminally ill patients it is supposed to help.

  4. Jeff Granger

    November 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    To Kay Daniel: The only thing “stupid” about marijuana is sending people to jail for using it. Millions die annually worldwide from totally legal alcohol and tobacco sold by “respectable” and “legitimate” businesses. How “stupid” is that, Ms. Daniel? What is the source of your information that the bill “will harm far more youth than the number of chronically and terminally ill patients it is supposed to help”?

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