By Michael Bachara
The Illinois Senate voted 35-21 in favor of an historic bill that would allow people with certain ailments to use cannabis to ease their symptoms, if recommended by their doctor.
The bill, HB 1, which would allow Illinois residents with qualifying conditions the right to obtain 2.5 ounces every two weeks from a licensed dispensary, is expected to be signed by an "open-minded" Governor Quinn.
"We are embarking here on a way to achieve relief, compassionate relief, consistent with the law (with) a system which avoids abuse," according to the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bill Haine of Alton. "It's the tightest, most controlled legislative initiative in the United State related to medical cannabis."
"This is about individuals that are having a difficult time finding solutions to their cancer pains, that are finding other solutions and are going to the black market buying it anyway. We must find these solutions," Senator William Delgado, 2nd Legislative District (D), proclaimed on the Senate floor.
Proponents say cannabis can relieve continual pain without detrimental side effects of other pharmaceutical drugs.
"The Illinois General Assembly has passed a bill that will protect very ill people from being arrested if the patient and their doctor feel that cannabis can help the patient with their medical condition," according to Illinois NORML Executive Director Dan Linn. "Medical cannabis patients should not be criminals and should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis."
Paul Bachmann, Multiple Sclerosis sufferer and marijuana advocate, said of the historic vote "Today is an amazing day. A day that Illinois can be proud of and a day that we will finally move out of prohibition."
If the bill is signed, Illinois will become the nineteenth state to approve medical cannabis since California in 1996. Ironically, medical cannabis is also allowed in the District of Columbia.
The proposed law would establish 4-year trial for patients in Illinois.
Please contact Governor Quinn and ask him to sign the bill.
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Source: After emotional debate, Senate OKs medical marijuana
Source: Illinois Senate Passes Medical Cannabis Bill 35-21
Video Source: Illinois: Senator William Delgado Speaks In Favor of Medical Cannabis, Vote Yes on HB1
Published with special permission from the author