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Illinois' Medical Marijuana Bill Just Might Pass

Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is hopeful that medical marijuana, or House Bill 0030, will pass this January, saying, "Nobody should fear the bill."

House member Lou Lang (D-Skokie) has been pushing two controversial bills in recent years: the expansion of Illinois gaming and the legalization of medical marijuana.

Whenever asked about the possibility of Illinois becoming the nineteenth state to legalize the green leafy substance, Lang is always optimistic. Two years ago, he told Skokie Patch he only needed to secure "two or three" votes to pass the bill. Obviously, that never came to fruition.

However, other states have recently passed similar bills and 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.

"Nobody should fear the bill," Lang told Skokie Patch. "This is about quality of life for people."

Lang said he "strongly believes" that lawmakers will be voting on the bill this January, a month known by many as the "lame duck session," where elected officials can vote on a particular bill just before the end of his or her tenure.   

"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."    

What are some of those regulations? According to House Bill 0030:

  • Repeal the program after three years. This means the use of medical marijuana would enter a three year pilot program to see how effective the bill is working  and, if any tweaks or adjustments need to be made for the future.
  • People will not be allowed to drive for six hours after consuming marijuana.
  • It would be illegal for marijuana dispensaries to make campaign contributions.
  • Those looking to dispense medical marijuana would have to pay a $5,000 non-refundable application fee and a $20,000 certificate fee.
  • If passed, a person who can legally smoke medical marijuana can have no more than two ounces of dried usable cannabis at any given time.
  • If a caregiver or patient dispenses - or sells - cannabis illegally they will face a penalty of not more than two years in prison and a fine not more than $2,000.
  • Also, see PDF image attached above.

Lang said he is "very close" to securing the 60 votes needed to pass the measure to the Senate. If the bill arrives on the Senate's floor, many experts believe they will approve the measure.

In May 2011, Lang's medical marijuana bill received 53 of the 60 votes needed to pass. In November 2010, the bill once again fell short by seven votes and failed to pass to the Senate.

"How do you turn down the people who are sick? Who are in pain." Lang said. "People who haven't been able to have a quality life. This is not a bill about drugs. This is a bill about health care."

Correction - It was previously reported that a person can have up to six dried plants in their home. This was part of the previous bill and has since been taken out. 

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jeff December 13, 2012 at 12:47 AM
At the end of the day people here in Illinois that like to smoke pot can get it anywhere,any day at anytime in this state if they so choose to. Your kids can too so stop kidding yourselves that legalizing it will make it easier to get. Its already as easy to get as going to the store anyway so why not tax & regulate. The medical benefits are endless and there is a cheap bio diesel fuel that can be made from the seeds. Big Oil doesn't like that at all. Big pharma doesn't like MJ because it will replace a third of everything they sell.
Tiffany December 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Those who think marijuana is so awful just needs to actually try it and see what the real affects are. Alcohol is ten times worse than weed. And taking prescription pills is one of the worse drugs that young kids and adults are abusing, along with other heavily addictive drugs. Marijuana is not addictive and i use to find it very helpful to help me destress and relax to have a great night sleep. Worked wonders for me when i worked midnight shift for two years
James Hammans December 14, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Cannabis has medicinal properties. Time and again it has demonstrated greater efficacy in treating the side effects of chemotherapy, and symptoms of AIDS and MS, than available prescriptions. Raw plant material might not be the best form of medicine, but, until the Controlled Substances Act is changed to allow for cannabis-based drugs, that's the only option left for patients. The federal government won't change until the states force them to. Tell your reps to vote yes on HB 30.
James Hammans December 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/marijuana
James Hammans December 14, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Have you even read the bill John? There's a provision barring any medical cannabis organization from making campaign contributions, so how is Lang going to profit from this?
Mary Whitsell December 18, 2012 at 02:40 AM
The people of Illinois will greatly benefit from this bill passing. All of the arguments about marijuana being a gateway drug are ridiculous. People who suffer with chronic pain, nausea and vomiting from chemo therapy, loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer's, MS, fibromyalgia and many many more can benefit from this drug. This is not new information, big pharma has known about it's benefits for years and fights for their possible reduction of revenue. Lou Lang isn't in revenue, he is one of Illinois' representatives that is actually listening to the people. There is less likelihood of abuse, or impaired motor skills than there are with alcohol and especially narcotics. Please let's get the facts straight and make this a non-partisan issue and help the people of Illinois that need this medication to improve the quality of their lives. Mary
Mary Whitsell December 18, 2012 at 02:45 AM
It is not about revenue. It is about listening to your constituency and helping provide an alternative to narcotics.
michael December 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Hello everyone please don't be scared of this bill...I am a current arizona mmj patient cannabis was given to me as an anti pyscotic anti depressant but most importantly anti nausea cause the lining in my stomach somehow dissovled...resultin in serve nausea...I vaporize small amounts before eating cause pills make me sick...cannabis has been a life saver for me and I would really like to return home...oh by the way I use cannabis everyday and I raise my son...work and I'm happy most days if u seen me in public you'd have no ideal I was an mmj patient so with all respect ppl should not be scared....
hispanicraven December 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM
So a person that is allergic to man-made pain killers should just lay around and suffer??? I am allergic to Tylenol.... ibuprofen aggravates my asthma and as ate a hole in my stomach. I much prefer the side affects of marijuana compared to all the man-made medicine. Just because a pharmacy is selling the medicine does not mean it is safe...it just means they are getting richer because people do not have a choice!! Obviously you do not understand pain!
hispanicraven December 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM
With the new privacy laws, you should feel free to talk to your doctor about whatever....without fear of repercussions...but I agree with you on the price...i would prefer to be able to grow my own plants but Lang had to change that in order to appease some of the opponents :(
Rodney Hill December 23, 2012 at 06:36 PM
You know John and Mary this shows how ignorant you guy are to the use of Medical Marijuana!!! It does not impair one's judgement, Like the other drugs we have to use like Morphine, Oxycotin and Fentol that I am taking now. And then to say Rot your brain, You guys need to be educated before making your comments. It is apparent you know NOTHING about the Marijuana Plant. I guess when they made asprin out of the willow tree, you would be against that as well. Where was you when they started making all the narcotics out of the opium plant, You wasn't against that too, was you??? This has been proven that crime, deaths and drug rates de-escalating, especially in minors. This is not a test, instead it called compassion for your fellow man that is suffering and could live a better quality of life. In order for us to get the medicines that we need, we are forced to buy it illegaly of the streets. Where the medicine is not controlled, and are causing wars in Mexico, with MANY people getting killed, because it not legal.Trillions of dollars go to the war on drugs and all they are doing is wasting money and lifes as well.It's NOT going away EVER, it will always be here and the war on Marijuana is a waste of our tax payers monies, That could be put to better use than throwing it away to try to defeat this drug. As for me and millions of others that benifit from the use of Marijuana, We are going to get it whether it Legal or not. MADE BY GOD AND IS ALL NATURAL. YOUR STATE IS THE SAD ONE
Rodney Hill December 23, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Maybe because you have NO COMPASSION FOR YOUR FELLOW MAN?????
Rodney Hill December 23, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Well said Tom. It just shows how under educated most people are. And doesn't care about their fellow man. I put my trust in GOD and in GOD made Plants, not altered by Man. They need to go to Church and learn about Jesus and then they will hopefully find compassion...
Rodney Hill December 23, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Well said Mary
Gary White December 24, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Mary, Do Your Homework, What you just said makes you look stupid.
Jwbalsley January 03, 2013 at 05:39 PM
I am originally from Chicago/ Milwaukee but I live in California at the moment. Marijuana is everywhere here, even more than liquor stores and I don't see any problems that it has caused. People that are high on weed seem very nice and they don't get violent, arrogant or scary like a drunk person. From living in a place where marijuana is EXTREMELY prevalent and widely available, I have seen from first hand experience that it is a non issue. If you like it as a medicine or a recreational novelty, especially one than is as safe as green tea, you should have safe access to it just like chocolate. I'm sorry, I just think it's insane that you can actually go to jail or prison for something that has only mild side effects if any. Even at it's worst it will only give a person mild to medium anxiety or make them on edge for a few hours, (it really depends on the person and the stain), but that's still better than a violent drunken rampage.
James Hammans January 03, 2013 at 09:19 PM
You make a good point, unfortunately one of the main arguments against this bill is that cannabis will become more prevalent. This bill is the strictest proposed medical cannabis bill to date so those fears are probably unfounded, but the majority of people are ignorant and, therefore, fearful. You can't be completely candid with them. Until they decide to grow up and act like adults, you have to give them sugar coated half truths.
Danielle Solomon January 05, 2013 at 08:50 AM
Passing this bill would be a step in the right direction. There is nothing wrong with adults using MJ responsibly if it's for medical purposes, or recreational. Prohibition hasn't worked in the past, and guess what? It is not working now. Stop treating people who use such a harmless drug like criminals, and focus on the REAL ones. You know. The ones out on the street murdering people. Booze and cigs are much more harmful drugs, yet those are legal.
Nikolas Goumotsios January 05, 2013 at 09:15 AM
Legalize green 2013 IL What you dont like money? Medical marijuana for ILl states people.
Nick Papageorgio January 06, 2013 at 02:44 PM
The people of Illinois are governed by more useless laws than any other state in the country in my opinion. We have some of the strictest laws and yet, we also have the most corrupt government in the country. The only thing holding this bill up from passing is the greedy politicians looking for a way for themselves to get a cut of some money and not to hurt the big pharma in the process. That is, as we all know, why there has not been a nation-wide repeal. Research Henry Anslinger. He testified in front of Congress in the 1930's saying "Marijuana makes Caucasian women seek relations with the degenerate races." Henry Ford had a very affordable and economic prototype vehicle that was made mostly from hemp that was shot down thanks to the kind influence of Henry Anslinger.
Mark Klitzke January 06, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Follow the money. Who needs a doctor to write a prescription for a pharmaceutical drug if you can grow your own medicine at home under lock and key? Prosecutors and cops will lose funding. Private prisons won't have as many inmates to profit from. The vast majority of current and past marijuana users are otherwise law abiding citizens who must find someone who knows someone who is a criminal to get their drug of choice. Legalize it Colorado style, put the criminals out of business. Mexico would lose half of its illegal drug trade, and that would make life better on both sides of the border. If we continue to lie to kids about marijuana, they won't believe us about meth and heroin.
chuck richardson January 08, 2013 at 04:50 PM
(watch you tube: run from the cure the rick simpson story.) im all for the medical marijuana bill too many of my family members have died from cancer and because the doctor gave them a pill theyre allergic to or had more side effects that it did good and died cuz of it. this is why i hate politics.
heather fawcett January 12, 2013 at 02:07 AM
People are going to use marijuana for pain and cancer patients to get an appetite after chemo..I watched my father at the age of 49 wither away because of cancer only getting relief after going out on the street and buying marijuana from a source he wasn't sure of..why should drug dealers and the cartel profit? It can be regulated and taxed if its legal...people in pain will do anything to get out of pain believe that....
Kevin January 29, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Why are you so dead set against one of natures most useful, beautiful living organisms? And are you insane; Or, do you like the gang violence in our communities? This passes and that will be one less bullet per patient. Anywho, not to bark up any trees, but do you have any life dulling conditions? Or are you just reacting from the pharmaceuticals in a negative way?
Kevin January 29, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Are you killing people?
Susan Bruno January 31, 2013 at 01:15 AM
To deny relief from those who would benefit from MN is nothing short of inhuman. Yet those who oppose don't seem to mind cigarettes,a proven carcinogen. The government has been manipulating the nicotine level since the 1940's. Every year thousands of Americans die needlessly. MM is does not cause cancer It will not rot your liver like alcohol, another substance the government allows. STOP THE HIPPOCRACY......
lana February 02, 2013 at 05:46 AM
I have "relapsng progressive" Ms which is the worst one only effects 10% marijuana helps a lot with my pain and spastisity. I have been on every Ms drug and relapsed on everyone. I only smoke when I can get which is hardly ever but I wish it was legal cause it really does help.
freck wilkinson February 27, 2013 at 05:56 AM
Well I'm dead set for it!!! So there!!!
James Hammans March 13, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Just so everyone knows, the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act is now known as HB1. Last week it passed committee 11-4 and is waiting for a full vote. If you support this legislation, now is the time to contact your representatives and let them know you support HB1.
Ms Reagan March 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM
I'm trying to find out how IL will decide on who dispenses. How many plants can a patient have?

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