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Back in November, Senate Bill 1381, which would have legalized medical marijuana, failed to receive enough votes.
The man behind the bill, Rep. Lou Lang (D-16thDistrict) told Skokie Patch in the past that many lawmakers were for the legislation – enough to pass it and then some – but that they wouldn’t vote for it because of possible political fallout.
Back then, Lang fell short by seven votes during a lame-duck season in Congress. Some lawmakers fearedwould become another California.
Fast forward to today and a similar bill is gaining steam, as Lang and new allies – some Republican – are laying out a stricter set of rules for the bill.
The bill has new life, mainly because Republican Representative and House Minority Leader Tom Cross said he will support legalizing medical marijuana. His support came after talking to cancer patients and a disabled veteran.
The controversial plant would treat people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and severe glaucoma, among other illness. Yet Illinois lawmakers want to make sure that to make their state doesn’t become another California.
In California, for example, a person could receive a prescription for stating that they are simply having frequent headaches, something Illinois lawmakers don’t want for the state.
Marijuana distribution sites in Illinois would also be not-for-profit, unlike those in California. There would also be severe penalties for those that sell the plant after obtaining it through prescription.
“How do you turn down the people who are sick? Who are in pain? People who haven’t been able to have a quality life,” Lang asked elected officials in Illinois. “This is not a bill about drugs. This is a bill about health care.”
While 15 states already allow the use of medical marijuana, Lang said this new bill would be the strictest in the nation.
“It requires them [patients] to get a license from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which would monitor and license each person, and it provides strict penalties for those who break the law or use the marijuana and drive, or try to sell it or distribute it,” Lang told WBBM radio.
If passed, the bill would receive a three year review period, where lawmakers could review the medical marijuana bill. If objections were to occur, it would be removed and made once again illegal.
But before any of that happens, the bill has to pass the House, then Senate and be signed by Gov. Pat Quinn to be legal. In the past, Quinn said he would sign the bill if it passed the House and Senate.