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Illinois May Allow Medicinal Uses


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What do Amsterdam and Illinois have in common? There may not be much similarity now, but on Tuesday a bill was sent to the Senate Public Health Committee regarding the legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois.

This bill would legalize the use of medical marijuana in some hospitals as a medicinal treatment.

No decision has been made yet as to its legalization, but the bill aims to protect seriously ill patients from being arrested for using marijuana for its medicinal benefits.

Eleven states already have medical marijuana laws including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Students at the University would not benefit from this bill if it is passed, however.

Due to the governmental restrictions on marijuana, the McKinley Health Center would not be able to prescribe the drug.

"It's regulated as a Class 1 substance by the government," said Dr. David Lawrance, the medical director at McKinley, "It would require a special license we do not have."

Lawrance also explained that few hospitals would have the appropriate licensing to distribute marijuana as medication.

The medical uses of marijuana are still under examination. There are different views on how effective marijuana is in treating certain illnesses and symptoms.

"We'd be speculating on the use of marijuana because we are not sure about its use," said Jennifer Hendricks, public representative of Carle Clinic Association.

Hendricks would not comment on the pending legislation.

"Some claim (marijuana) has no use further than anything currently prescribed," Lawrance said. "I have no idea whether it will be useful or not."

Organizations that are pro-marijuana say the evidence is strong on the side of marijuana being an effective drug.

"It is effective for symptoms related to sclerosis, cancer and AIDS," said Dan Bernath, assistant director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

The project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States, and suggests the use of marijuana to be regulated in a similar fashion to alcohol.

"Polling on the issue gets about 70 to 80 percent across the U.S.," said Bernath on public approval of legalizing marijuana.

"Personally, I think an addiction to pain medication is much worse than the medical use of marijuana," student Aaron Buck, senior in Engineering.

Others have a more skeptical view about medical marijuana's chances of legalization.

"I doubt the bill will survive because of so many issues going on in California," Lawrance said. California is having some difficulty with enforcement of the drug regulations, he mentioned.

"You can't blame the whole system because of a few bad apples," said Buck in response, "If it could help people medically, why not (legalize it)?"

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Dailyillini.com
Author: Ebonique Wool
Copyright: 2007 The Daily Illini
Website: The Daily Illini
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