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House Committee Endorses Medical Marijuana Proposal

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File Photo From Marijuana Rally  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File Photo From Marijuana Rally (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (WBBM) -– An Illinois House panel today voted to approve the use of medical marijuana for individuals who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

The Illinois House Human Services Committee voted 6-5 on the legislation, House Bill 30, to allow patients to posses 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for a 14-day period in which the need has been certified, in many cases, by two, separate doctors.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, and I know a majority of lawmakers recognize the underlying medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), the measure’s chief sponsor.

“My goal is persuade a majority of lawmakers to vote their knowledge and their conscience.”

Under the proposed three-year pilot project, the Illinois Department of Public Health would administer the program and would identity cards to patients with debilitating medical conditions to allow them to purchase medical marijuana at registered, non-profit medical cannabis organizations.

The measure now goes to the full House for a vote. A similar proposal was voted down in the House in January.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would consider signing the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Under Lang’s legislation, a patient would have to submit to the Illinois Department of Public Health a physician’s written certification that the patient would be likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from cannabis and that the patient has a qualifying medical conditions, such as: alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, epilepsy, etc.

A CBS-TV nationwide poll, conducted January 27-30, 2011, found that an overwhelming of Americans, 77%, back the use of medical marijuana. The poll breaks down support by age group:

* 86% – 18-29
* 74% – 30-44
* 82% – 45-64
* 63% – 65+

Lang said. “No one should be denied a health care treatment that might improve their quality of life.”

Other House sponsors include State Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago).

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