Medical Marijuana Technically Legal in Illinois Since 1978

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Medical Cross Marijuana

Last night I made a post about the widely unknown medical marijuana law in Virginia. While I was researching that I found that, just like in Virginia, Illinois also technically legalized medical marijuana over 30 years ago.

In 1978 the Illinois legislature passed a Cannabis Control Act to try and bring sense to the state’s drug laws. The act states that even though marijuana causes, “physical, psychological and sociological damage…it occupies the unusual position of being widely used and pervasive,” in Illinois, and so it was time to establish a “reasonable penalty system” that focused on “commercial traffickers and large-scale purveyors.”

Even then, marijuana was widely being accredited for its medicinal benefits, so the act granted the Illinois Department of Human Services permission to authorize licensed physicians to use it to treat “glaucoma, the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy in cancer patients or such other procedure certified to be medically necessary.”

There were two catches, however. Firstly, the Human services was not required to give doctors the authority to prescribe medical cannabis, it only stated that they could. Secondly, it could only act “with the written approval of the Department of State Police.” So basically this meant that in order for medical marijuana to actually be prescribed and distributed, two separate state departments had to first create new policies; and to this day, neither one has.

There is hope for the near future though. Sate Representative Lou Lang is at the head of the medical marijuana push in Illinois. Lang is proposing a three year pilot program, which has already passed the Senate, and he hopes that once this November election is over, lawmakers will conjure up the political courage to vote for his bill.

Lang recognizes marijuana is not very dangerous, particularly when compared not to alcohol or other drugs, but to narcotic prescription drugs, which are legal and which can be fatal.

Lang says he can count on 57 House votes, three short of the minimum, but more than 30 other representatives have told him they wish they could vote for it but are afraid to. Lang hopes that changes after Election Day, when the General Assembly is back for a veto session that will include a number of lame ducks.

This is all the information I could dig up so far so I am still looking for more. Please, if something I said is inaccurate or you can expand on it, leave and a comment and let me know!

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