420 Magazine Background

Medical Marijuana Fails Again in Illinois House

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
For the second time in 2011, the Illinois House has voted down a bill to allow chronically ill citizens to use medical marijuana to treat their maladies.

The proposal received only 53 yes votes Thursday to 61 in opposition, with four lawmakers voting "present." A similar measure failed by four votes on Jan. 6. Sixty votes were needed for passage.

"It turns out, even though there were 53 ( "yes" votes ) on the board, I had 58 votes," said sponsor Rep. Lou Lang, D-Chicago. "Two people voted 'no' because they saw it was going to fail, three people voted 'present' because they saw it was going to fail."

Lang said he will seek another roll call if he can find two more votes to pass the plan, and he vowed to make any reasonable changes to get those votes.

Supporters had been optimistic about the measure's chances Thursday, because House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, publicly backed the bill last month, after voting against the previous proposal.

House Bill 30 "is not about drugs, it is not about marijuana, it's about healthcare," Lang said during floor debate. It would "help people who can't get out of bed because they're too doped up on morphine or Oxycontin."

Chronically ill patients, certified by their doctor and the state Department of Public Health, would have been allowed to buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days. They would have been allowed to possess no more than 2.5 ounces at any one time to prevent stockpiling for sale, Lang said.

The measure voted on Thursday also called for a limited number of non-profit dispensaries, restricted the diseases for which pot could be prescribed and eliminated earlier provisions that would have allowed patients to grow their own marijuana.

Despite the changes, one opponent still worried that abuse could occur.

"I don't discount the pain and suffering that's going on out there it was a tough vote," said Rep. Jim Watson, R-Jacksonville, who voted against the measure. "One of my ( local ) chiefs of police is a retired DEA agent in Jacksonville, and he was gravely concerned. Every local law enforcement official called me in opposition."

Opponents also said the measure would still conflict with federal law, which labels cannabis as a Schedule One controlled substance the highest classification prohibiting all use.

"This is not a medicine, this is an illegal substance," said Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Westmont, said.

Bellock said Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed a medical marijuana bill after two U.S. attorneys said action could be taken against state employees who enforced the proposal.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2011 The State Journal-Register
Contact: The State Journal-Register
Website: The State Journal-Register
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Andy Brownfield
Top Bottom