State legislature approves medical marijuana bill

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — State lawmakers gave final approval Friday, May 17, to a measure that would allow Illinois residents with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill will now be transmitted to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) for his signature.

The governor has said he is “open-minded” to signing the bill into law, and Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon (D) recently expressed support for the proposal.

The Senate approved the measure 35-21 May 17, and it received approval from the House of Representatives by a vote of 61-57 April 17.

House Bill 1, sponsored in the House by state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and in the Senate by former state’s attorney state Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, would allow people suffering from specific medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and rheumatoid arthritis 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.

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Similar legislation has been introduced in 16 additional states this year, and it is anticipated in one more state.

From the May 22-28, 2013, issue

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