.

Illinois' Medical Marijuana Bill Might Pass

Painting it as a bill about health care, not drug use, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who has advocated for the bill for years, said, "Nobody should fear the bill."


Illinois House leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) has been pushing two controversial bills over the last two decades: the expansion of Illinois gaming and the legalization of medical marijuana.

Whenever asked about the possibility of Illinois becoming the nineteenth state to legalize the green leafy substance, Lang is always optimistic. Two years ago, he told Skokie Patch that he only needed to secure "two or three" votes to pass the bill. Obviously, that never came to fruition.

However, other states have recently passed similar bills and Lang is hoping Illinois can become the next state to ride the green wave, saying he wants to help those who can seriously benefit, medically speaking, from the drug.

Recently, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington have taken it to another level, allowing citizens to smoke pot recreationally.

But for Lang the legalization of medical marijuana isn't about recreation use - it's about helping people who can benefit medically from the drug, he said.

"Nobody should fear the bill," Lang told Skokie Patch. "This is about quality of life for people."

Lang said he "strongly believes" that lawmakers will be voting on the bill this January, a month known by many as the "lame duck session," where elected officials can vote on a particular bill just before the end of their tenure.   

"Illinois would be the nineteenth state to pass the bill (the District of Columbia also recently passed the bill)," Lang said. "And of all of those, Illinois will be the most tightly regulated."    

What are some of those regulations? According to the House Bill 0030:

  • Repeal the program after three years. This means the use of medical marijuana would enter a three year pilot program to see how effectively the bill is working, and if any tweaks or adjustments need to be made for the future.
  • People will not be allowed to drive for 12 hours after consuming marijuana.
  • It would be illegal for marijuana dispensaries to make campaign contributions.
  • Those looking to dispense medical marijuana would have to pay a $5,000 non-refundable application fee and a $20,000 certificate fee.
  • If passed, a person who can legally smoke medical marijuana can have no more than two ounces of dried usable cannabis at any given time.
  • If a caregiver or patient dispenses - or sells - cannabis illegally they will face a penalty of not more than two years in prison and a fine not more than $2,000.
  • Also, see PDF image attached above.

Lang said he is "very close" to securing the 60 votes needed to pass the measure to the Senate. If the bill arrives on the Senate's floor, many experts believe they will approve the measure.

In May 2011, Lang's medical marijuana bill received 53 of the 60 votes needed to pass. In November 2010, the bill also fell short by seven votes and failed to pass to the Senate.

"How do you turn down the people who are sick? Who are in pain," Lang said. "People who haven't been able to have a quality life. This is not a bill about drugs. This is a bill about health care."

Like Niles-Morton Grove Patch on Facebook for news, conversation 

Get Niles and Morton Grove news in a daily email from Patch. It's like getting a free newspaper. Learn more. 

Harry Gio December 11, 2012 at 02:43 PM
MEDICAL MARIJUANA OR MARIJUANA FOR ADULT RECREATIONAL USE SHOULD BE LEGALIZED, AS IT HAS NEVER POSED ANY SORT OF THREAT... THE ONLY REASON MARIJUANA WAS NEVER LEGALIZED IS BECAUSE THE LAWMAKERS WERE NEVER ABLE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO TAX IT... PLAIN AND SIMPLE: MARIJUANA SHOULD BE GROWN IN MEXICO'S RICH SOIL AND SUNLIGHT, HARVESTED BY THE PEOPLE THERE, EXPORTED TO THE UNITED STATES THROUGH THE U.S. CUSTOMS WHERE IT CAN BE INSPECTED, THEN TAXED, THEN SOLD TO DESIGNATED DISTRIBUTORS, WHICH SHOULD BE THE CIGARETTE COMPANIES; AS THEY ALREADY HAVE DISTRIBUTION CENTERS IN PLACE.
Bob G December 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Good ole Lou Lang. The lackey who brings up as many money making / taxing ideas for Rahm and the other crooks who use him . Get a real job now Lou. How about concealed carry in Illinois where citizens can no longer feel comfortable walking the streets anymore.
Tricia Williams December 12, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Medical marijuana laws normalize marijuana use and correlate directly to teen’s perception of marijuana’s harm.Teens think marijuana use is safer than alcohol use and they are more likely to drive after smoking marijuana than after drinking. There is currently no test to measure marijuana levels for impaired driving like there is for alcohol. Marijuana can be addictive. It can compromise academic success by impairing learning, memory, abstract thinking and problem solving; teens’ brains are not fully developed. Marijuana use can lead to poor attendance, dropping out of school, delinquency and behavioral problems. The two ounces of cannabis limit is equal to 183 joints! How will the not driving for 12 hours after consuming marijuana be monitored and measured? Too many loopholes and unanswered questions in this bill.
Brad H. December 17, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Marijuana is safer than alcohol, by a HUGE amount. Marijuana is not addictive, studies also show it's a terminus drug not a gateway drug. Marijuana temporarily suspends paste experience and future expectation rumination during the high. No memory or learning impediment has ever been discovered. Studies have also shown that marijuana actually increases attention to detail which improves driving with therapeutic doses. These are proven and scientifically accepted Facts. Educate yourself, please.
donald t January 07, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Yes people need to be educated on this, its a plant put here by god him self, its way safer then alcohol there has been no deaths related to cannabis, studys have proven it to be safe and have dozens of medical benefits, I mean when your drinking and driving you can kill your self or someone else, when you smoke some marijuana your just gonna relax and eat a cupcake, and if you do drive it actualy increases attention and awarness, much safer then alcohol or any perscription medication, it was put here from the allmighty above obviously for medical use and with it being reconized more and more around the world, we will be able to study it more and find even more positive benefits for the plant, get educated people its in the bible under genesis says and let there be plants that's bear fruits and seeds

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »