Illinois Senate Supports Medical Marijuana Bill
Medical marijuana bill heads to Illinois House
By Jason Nevel
SPRINGFIELD — A proposal to legalize medical marijuana squeaked through the Illinois Senate on Wednesday and will now head to the House for further debate.
The measure would allow patients to use marijuana to alleviate chronic pain and nausea when other treatments have failed. The list of applicable conditions includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“This bill allows the use of marijuana in limited circumstances,” said Senate sponsor William Haine, D-Alton, who was the former state’s attorney for Madison County. “Someone doesn’t have to go down the criminal element to buy marijuana.”
The controversial issue sparked heated debate on the Senate floor but reached the necessary 30 votes to move to the House. Supporters noted the benefits of alternative treatment for ailing patients and that it’s more natural than synthetic drugs.
“God grows these seeds,” said state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, who voted for the legislation.
Opponents claimed the legislation lacked the police supervision and that the number of marijuana users could potentially increase.
“This is an invitation for trouble,” said state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon.
State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, added, “Once you say something is legal usage will go up.”
The proposal would allow qualified patients to grow three plants in their home.
Along with Bivins and Righter other senators voting “no” included: Larry Bomke, R-Springfield; Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; and Dan Rutherford, R-Chenoa.
The legislation is Senate Bill 1381.
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