Illinois Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Legislation

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“We are embarking here on a way to achieve relief, compassionate relief, consistent with the law (with) a system which avoids abuse,” said 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.”

A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center poll showed that 77 percent of Americans say marijuana has legitimate medical uses. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

But opponents in the Illinois Senate worry whether the regulations set by the proposed legislation would be enough to prevent abuse of the drug.

“For every touching story that we have heard about the benefits of those in pain I remind you today that there are a thousand times more parents who will never be relieved from the pain of losing a child due to addiction, which in many cases has started with the very illegal, FDA-unapproved, addiction-forming drug you are asking us to make a normal part of our communities,” said Sen. Kyle McCarter a Republican from Lebanon.

Nonetheless, Haine touted his measure as the strictest that the General Assembly has considered on medical marijuana. Haine and other supporters have been trying to legalize it for several years. A measure that had cleared the Senate failed in the House in 2011, when six Republicans and 50 Democrats voted yes.

The current version of the bill received the House’s approval in April.

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