A new bill that would have legalized medical marijuana failed today, as the measure fell short by seven votes again.
Skokie's Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) has been campaigning for medical marijuana use for some time. The bill received 53 votes, but needed at least 60 to pass.
If passed, the measure would undergo a three-year evaluation period, during which time lawmakers could review the bill. If objections were to occur, the exemption would be removed and medical marijuana made once again illegal.
Many lawmakers thought the bill was going to pass this time, mainly because House Minority Leader Tom Cross--a Republican-- after speaking to cancer patients and a military veteran.
Yet ironically, the bill still received the same amount of votes as -- 53--stalling the bill yet again.
Lang was not immediately available for comment, but he told Skokie Patch in the past that many lawmakers were for the legislation--enough to pass it and then some--but that they wouldn't vote for it because of possible political fallout.
If the bill had passed, people with a prescription would be able to grow and have marijuana in their home after they received approval from a physician and the state Department of Public Health. Anyone with a prescription would also be able to possess at least three plants at any given time.
"How do you turn down the people who are sick? Who are in pain. People who haven't been able to have a quality life," Lang asked elected Illinois officials in November. "This is not a bill about drugs. This is a bill about health care."
While 15 states already allow the use of medical marijuana, Lang insists that Illinois' version would be the strictest in the nation.
The controversial plant would treat people with HIV, cancer, severe glaucoma and other ailments. Currently, Illinois legislators for the bill are trying to get away from the negative stigma California's law has produced, such as being able to get a prescription for simply having a headache.
"It requires them [patients] to get a license from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which would monitor and license each person, and it provides strict penalties for those who break the law or use the marijuana and drive, or try to sell it or distribute it," Lang told WBBM radio.
Marijuana distribution sites in Illinois would also be not-for-profit, and there would be severe penalties for those who sell the plant after obtaining it through a prescription.
Had the bill passed, it would have moved on to the Senate and then to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature. In the past, Quinn said he would sign such legislation if it reaches his desk.