An Illinois House Committee passed a measure that could give the state a four-year medical marijuana pilot program. If passed by lawmakers, the Pantagraph reports, it would be one of the toughest medical marijuana laws in the country.
Eighteen states and Washington D.C. all have medical marijuana legislation on the books, though some states have yet to make them effective. Still, the Illinois measure would be one that lasted four years and was followed by a re-evaluation by lawmakers after that period.
Rep. Louis Lang (D-Skokie) said his proposal last year fell short, and it was a tough set of regulations. This time around, the proposed laws are even tougher.
Lang suggests his proposal would be “model legislation” for other states in the country, that it would help people who need marijuana for medicine to get it while controlling it in a way as to not increase marijuana use or presence among those without qualifying medical conditions.
“The bill will allow very sick people to get a product that they need to feel better,” he said. “Their quality of life is at stake.”
Patients with conditions like cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis would get a special ID card through state sanctioned medical providers. The card would allow them to purchase limited amounts of medicinal cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries, who would in turn purchase their marijuana from 22 licensed growers.
One family doctor who favors the proposal says that in many cases, the mainstream medical treatments prescribed to patients is worse than the condition itself. She remarks that she has seen patients die after overdosing on medications, trying to get as much relief as possible. Marijuana, on the other hand, could provide the benefits without the risks.
Not everyone is convinced however. In the same tired, rhetoric, opponents say the legislation could increase marijuana usage among kids. Lang counters this argument by rightly stating that teens are already smoking pot and the medical marijuana law won’t affect that at all.
The measure passed the committee by 11 votes to 4. Now it goes to the house, named House Bill 1.
While the changing tides of marijuana legislation slowly sweep over the nation, there is confusion among citizens and even law enforcement. The bottom line is that marijuana is still illegal in Illinois and you can still be arrested for it.
If you are charged with a marijuana offense, contact our offices today to see how we might be able to help.