Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – The sponsor of legislation that would allow medical marijuana use in Illinois said Tuesday he’ll push for a vote on the measure when lawmakers return to Springfield early next month.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said he believes the Illinois General Assembly is ready to approve a law allowing people with specific illnesses to use marijuana for medical reasons.
“Of the other 18 states in the country that allow for the use of medical marijuana, this would be the tightest bill written; the most highly-regulated and controlled bill,” he said.
Anyone who obtained a medical marijuana ID card would be limited to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks. Conditions that would qualify a person to get medical marijuana would include cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, and more.
Lang said he’s confident the votes are there to approve the measure in the House.
“The members see that we’ve worked very hard to narrow this down to just make sure that very sick people get this product,” he said.
But Judy Kraemer, president of the group Educating Voices, said that’s too much marijuana for any one person.
“Two-and-a-half ounces makes 183 joints, and that’s 183 joints every 14 days,” she said. That amounts to 13 joints a day.
Lang, however, said many medical marijuana users would bake with it, rather than smoke it, and would need more marijuana for the same pain relief.
“It takes more marijuana in food … if you’re making marijuana cookies, or marijuana brownies,” he said. “Not everybody wants to smoke it.”
Kraemer also voiced fears of too much access to pot among teens.
“These doctors set up shop, and you can go in and just say … you have a back problem; consequently you have pain,” she said. “They will simply just write you out a recommendation.”
The measure was approved by the House Human Services Committee on an 11-4 vote earlier this month. If the House passes the proposal, it would go to the Senate for consideration.
An effort to pass similar medical marijuana legislation in 2011 failed in the Illinois House.