A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois awaits Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.
Quinn has suggested he is open to it but he has not indicated which way he is leaning. The same cannot be said for many state lawmakers.
The senate vote was 35-21. Five more than needed for passage.
Now the restrictions: Patients can’t grow their own; use it in public or around minors. There would be fingerprinting, background checks. What this would set up is a four-year trial program for patients who have an established relationship with a doctor and who can demonstrate that they need this to ease symptoms and take them out of pain.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) Lebanon said “We’re making a decision today to say in our communities that marijuana use is okay.”
Which is exactly what the Illinois senate did Friday– for medicinal use. The measure breezed through executive committee last week.
State Sen. William Delgado (D) Chicago said “At the end of the day, we’re talking about a plant.”
That said, plenty of statehouse debate about easing access to what the feds call a controlled substance.
State Sen. Mattie Hunter (D) Chicago said “So, I’m gonna vote no- cause I’m not gonna have this matter on my hands. It’s gonna be you all.”
Paul Bachmann, founder of Americans for Disabled Americans, said “Today is an amazing day. A day that Illinois can be proud of and a day that we will finally move out of prohibition.”
Paul Bachmann, Multiple Sclerosis sufferer and marijuana advocate, who takes a handful of pills every day– powerful narcotics like Oxycontin and still has trouble walking 20 steps and performing basic tasks.
Pot, quite simply, helps– where other drugs do not.
“That cannabis allows me to get out of that chair. That cannabis allows me to drop the cane and just go- let’s play. Let’s do something,” Paul said.
The way this would work– patients with 42 chronic medical conditions, like cancer, MS and HIV, could get up to two and a half ounces of prescribed marijuana every two weeks.
Politicians, though many of them- concerned about endorsing what they call a gateway drug.
State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) Lebanon said “For every touching story we have heard about the benefits to those in pain, I remind you, there are a thousand times more stories of parents who will never be relieved from the pain of losing a child.” McCarter lost his daughter to a drug overdose in 2006.