Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A bill to allow Illinois residents to use medical marijuana in the treatment of their debilitating medical conditions moved one step closer to becoming law Wednesday, March 6, when it was approved 11-4 by the House Health and Human Services Committee. It will now be considered by the full 118-member House of Representatives.
House Bill 1, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang, D-Skokie, would allow people suffering from specific medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Qualified patients would be able to obtain marijuana from one of up to 60 dispensaries, which would acquire marijuana from up to 22 cultivation centers.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and Department of Financial & Professional Regulation would regulate the cultivation, acquisition and distribution of marijuana.
Dan Riffle, deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, said: “Seriously ill people who receive significant relief from their use of marijuana should not be treated like criminals. If their doctors believe treating their conditions with medical marijuana will improve the quality of their lives, they should not have to risk being arrested and prosecuted.
“Marijuana is more effective, less addictive, and poses fewer and less severe side effects than many of the narcotics they are currently being prescribed,” Riffle added. “Patients with serious illnesses should be allowed to make personal medical decisions based on the advice of their physicians, without interference by law enforcement or government officials who lack medical training and expertise.”
Posted March 6, 2013