The Illinois House approved Rep. Lou Lang’s (D-Skokie) measure to use marijuana for medical purposes on Wednesday. The bill passed 61-57, just two days before the April 19 deadline.
The measure now moves to the senate.
In 2009, the senate approved a similar version of the bill. Senate President John Cullerton said he supports the legislation, according to WSIL TV in Springfield.
If passed, the bill would enter a four-year pilot program. Anyone who has been diagnosed by a physician “as having debilitating medical condition” can have up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis during a 14-day period, according to House Bill 1, or HB1.
The green leafy substance will be taxed at a rate of 7 percent an ounce if passed. It should be noted, however, that the tax “shall be paid by a medical cannabis cultivation center and is not the responsibility of a dispensary organization or a registered qualifying patient,” according to the bill.
"Nobody should fear the bill," Lang told Skokie Patch. "This is about quality of life for people."
If passed by the senate the bill would then move to Gov. Pat Quinn.
Other states have recently passed similar bills. Now, Lang is hoping Illinois can become the next state to ride the green wave and help those who can seriously benefit from the drug. Recently, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia now allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington have taken it to another level, allowing citizens to smoke pot recreationally.
But for Lang the legalization of medical marijuana isn't about recreation use - it's about helping people who can benefit tremendously from the drug, he said.
"Illinois would be the nineteenth state to pass the bill (the District of Columbia also recently passed the bill)," Lang said. "And of all of those, Illinois will be the most tightly regulated."