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Pass it to the Right: Medical Marijuana Gaining Steam in Illinois

Some conservatives now on board with the bill.

Back in November, Senate Bill 1381, which would have legalized medical marijuana, .

The man behind the bill, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), 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.

Back then, Lang fell short by seven votes during lame-duck season for the state's General Assembly.

Fast forward to today and a similar bill is gaining steam, as Lang and new allies–some Republicans–are laying out a stricter set of rules to make sure Illinois doesn’t become another California.

The controversial plant would treat people with HIV, cancer, severe glaucoma and other ailments. In California, a person could receive a prescription by simply saying they have frequent headaches.

Marijuana distribution sites in Illinois would also be not-for-profit, unlike those in California. There would also be severe penalties for those that sell the plant after obtaining it through prescription.

"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 officials in Illinois. "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 said this new bill would be the strictest in the nation.

"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.

If passed, the measure would undergo a three-year evaluation period, during which time lawmakers could review the medical marijuana bill. If objections were to occur, it would be removed and made once again illegal.

But before any of that happens, the bill has to pass the House, then Senate and be signed by Gov. Pat Quinn to be legal. In the past, Quinn said he would sign the such legislation if it reaches his desk.

derrick jordan April 29, 2011 at 10:18 AM
In reality, the biggest opponents are the merchants who sell "legal" drugs, particularly alcohol and prescription. Right now, whoever wants it can get it. What's really behind this ?
Clark Kent May 04, 2011 at 12:21 AM
After reading this informative article, I wonder if some of the legislators have already been under medical treatment and hence speak from experience- after all their busy, busy schedule of passing laws and solving the state's economic problems probably gives them lots of headaches. Severe penalties??? Hahahaha! We have many severe penalties on the books and they aren't used even against recidivists. About a health bill??? How silly. The bill is about revenue for a financially and morally bankrupt state. Where are the provision for things like liability for operating cars, equipment, appearing in public, "stolen" quantities...and hundred of other potential misuses of the "health" bill. What an odd career for the Honorable Mr. Lang. He has a unique history of helping gambling interests and casinos. Now he wants to help pot growers and users. He must be so busy that he has no time for figuring out how to make prudent state budgets. But, hey, the guy's only been a rep in Springfield since 1987; we gotta give the guy a chance to learn the ropes, time to find savings in the budget. No fast judgments on this hard worker, we wouldn't want his career to go up in smoke.

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