Lawmakers in Illinois Warming Up to Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Open Bottle

Medical marijuana is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality to the citizens of Illinois. Illinois House and Senate bills filed in 2009 – titled the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act – both call for a three-year legalization of marijuana for patients who obtain a doctor’s approval and suffer from one of a list of conditions or illnesses.

The Illinois Senate bill passed 30-28 last year. And according to State Rep. Lou Lang, could be up for discussion in the Illinois House by January.

Lang said he has two choices: he could either bring up the bill for vote during the November and December veto sessions (which would require 71 votes to pass) or bring up the issue in January before the new legislators take their seats in the General Assembly (which would take only 60 votes to pass).

“I don’t know how a person who is an elected official can ignore the simple fact that there are people in the world who have tried all other means of getting relief from really debilitating diseases and can’t find the relief needed,” Lang expressed. He also contends he has as many as 90 fellow state representatives who support the measure. But up to this point, only 58 are willing to signify that support with a vote.

Longtime area state Rep. Bill Black, claims he's done a lot of research on the subject but still remains on the fence.

“My initial reaction was no way, it’s just opening the door and soon there’ll be medical heroin,” Black said. “I think it’s a tightly controlled bill. If I can convince myself there is medicinal value to people; Cancer patients that I’ve talked to said it’s one of the few things that alleviate pain.”

Bill Black is retiring in January, meaning if the measure doesn't pass by then the issue of legalizing marijuana for medical use would fall in the lap of a new group of legislators, including one of two candidates vying for Black’s seat in the 104th District.

Mike Puhr, the Democratic candidate vying for the seat, said he is familiar with the bill and would have no problems supporting the measure.

“This isn’t going to be something like you would buy on the street,” he said, noting that the bill includes measures making it “pretty strictly controlled.”

Puhr knows a man who grows medicinal marijuana in California and said the drug helps not only with pain, but also improving appetite and weight gain in terminal patients.

“This at least relieves some of the misery and helps a person,” he said.

So it appears that Illinois could very well be one of the next states to endorse medical marijuana in the near future. We at The Weed Blog are hoping for good news coming this November or January, and that those in Illinois who need medical marijuana to help them live with their ailments won't have to wait long for relief.