Thursday, May 28, 2009

Illinois Senate Approves Medical Marijuana

Yesterday, the Illinois Senate voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois. This is the furthest this legislation has ever gotten in Illinois. The vote, 30 to 28, was mainly along political lines. The legislation now goes to the Illinois House to see whether they approve of the senate measure. Illinois has just taken a giant step towards joining 13 other states in legalizing marijuana use for people with certain chronic illnesses such as Chron's Disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and arthritis. This bill was originally expected to be brought to a vote in April, but several state senators requested amendments to the bill which delayed the vote until yesterday. While the current bill represents a breakthrough in Illinois, it does appear, to this author, to have been watered down. For one thing the program will only be in existence for 3 years. At the end of the 3 years it will have to be approved again by the legislature or else it will end. In addition, it looks like the amount of marijuana which a patient will be allowed to possess will be limited to some extent.

It is unclear what the prospects of passage of the measure will be in the House. Earlier this year a House Committee voted in favor of the legislation but it is not quite clear whether House leaders will allow the measure to come to a vote.

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