Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will sign a bill into law today (Aug. 1) that will make Illinois the 20th state to allow residents with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
The measure was approved in the Senate (35-21) May 17 and in the House (61-57) April 17. It was endorsed by the Illinois Nurses Association and the Illinois State Bar Association, and more than 270 doctors from across the state signed on to a statement in support of safe access to medical marijuana for patients with serious illnesses.
“We applaud Gov. Quinn for his leadership in enacting this legislation that will help so many Illinoisans and their families,” said Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has been lobbying in support of such legislation for 10 years. “Nobody suffering from a serious illness should fear being arrested for using medical marijuana to treat their condition and improve their quality of life. Thanks to this legislation, they no longer will.
“Illinois is the latest of a growing number of states adopting compassionate, common-sense legislation that reflects the proven medical benefits of medical marijuana,” Lindsey said. “Seriously ill people in every state deserve the same safe and legal access to medical marijuana, and we will continue to work with patients and advocates around the nation until they have it.”
House Bill 1, sponsored in the House by Rep. Lou Lang (D- Skokie) and in the Senate by former state’s attorney Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), will 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 will 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 will regulate the cultivation, acquisition and distribution of marijuana
Nineteen other states and Washington, D.C., allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians.
Posted Aug. 1, 2013