Pointing to medical research showing marijuana effectively treats pain, nausea and other symptoms of debilitating medical conditions, the bill would allow patients to legally possess marijuana if their physicians diagnose them with a qualifying condition and recommend medical marijuana to treat it, reports Chris Kirk of The Daily Northwestern.
A vast majority of Illinois residents say they support medical marijuana, with the most recent poll showing 68 percent support in the state.
The act includes a variety of qualifying conditions, including cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C and conditions causing pain or nausea that are unresponsive to other treatments.
Federal law still bans the possession of marijuana for any purpose. But the act would provide a great deal of protection for medical marijuana patients because states are now required to arrest or prosecute people for violating federal laws.
The bill is only meant as a pilot program, according to backers, and would automatically be repealed after three years unless extended by the Legislature.
The state Senate has already approved the bill. It must now be passed by the state House and then signed by the governor in order to become law.
State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said two weeks ago that it appeared the Illinois bill is a few shorts of the 60 required for passage in the House. Lang said at the time that he wouldn’t call it for a vote unless he knows that the measure will pass.
“What I have to overcome is the basic political calculation that many of my colleagues take,” Lang said. “Ultimately, this is a health care bill. It’s not a bill about drugs. I’m here for people’s health care and pain. We should do this controlled piece of legislation… to help people.”
Written by Toke of the Town