MMJ Law Getting Further Than Usual in Illinois

MMJ Law Getting Further Than Usual in Illinois
Posted by CN Staff on March 28, 2009 at 08:28:37 PT
By Kari Andren, Post-Dispatch Springfield Bureau
Source: Post-Dispatch
Springfield, Ill. -- A proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes is once again smoldering in the Illinois Legislature. This time, opponents worry that it might actually catch fire.Twin measures before the Illinois House and Senate would allow patients to use marijuana to alleviate chronic pain and nausea when other treatments have failed. The list of conditions includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV-AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease and Alzheimer's.
The medical marijuana debate comes to Springfield almost every year, but Statehouse activity around the issue lately has been more frenetic than usual. Earlier this month, one measure won House committee approval for the first time. Last week, pro- and anti-legalization activists  including police officers opposed to the plan  packed into a Senate committee hearing where another measure advanced on a 6-2 vote.One reason for the heightened activity could be that state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, a major proponent in the past, became Senate president this year."That's a very big concern, absolutely," said Jeanie Lowe, an anti-legalization activist who has been at the forefront of Springfield's annual marijuana wars.Lowe also questioned whether lawmakers facing a state budget deficit might want to legalize marijuana so it could be taxed in the future. "Seems like they tax anything that moves," Lowe said.Also, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced this month that authorities would no longer prosecute federal marijuana violations against people in compliance with state laws.But for both sides in the Illinois debate, the main issue is whether the medicinal benefits outweigh the potential dangers."I don't look at the medical marijuana bill as a bill about drugs; I look at it as a bill about health care," said state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the bill's House sponsor. "Here's a way ... we can provide a huge amount of relief of pain and suffering for people who live in the state of Illinois."State Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, sponsor of the Senate measure, said legalizing marijuana for the seriously ill would prevent them from "turning to the dark side" and going outside the law to get it. Haine was formerly state's attorney of Madison County.That argument doesn't persuade lawmakers like state Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Highland, a social conservative and a pharmacist. Stephens says the purported benefits of marijuana for controlling nausea and increasing appetite can also be achieved with Marinol, a prescription medication."If we pass a bill that allows individuals to grow and have what is otherwise an illegal drug for the rest of the community, you're going to see that the illegal use is going to expand," Stephens said.In last week's Senate committee hearing, Illinois State Police Capt. Mark Henry specifically cited a provision that would allow patients to grow as many as seven marijuana plants at a time. Henry said seven plants would produce more than 3,500 joints per year  meaning a patient would have to smoke about nine joints a day to use all the marijuana grown. He said police worry that the surplus would end up on the street.The debate has extended beyond lobbyists and policymakers to patients themselves, who have stood up on both sides of the issue.Cancer patient James Ware said he smoked marijuana out of desperation while undergoing chemotherapy when other medications, including Marinol, did not help. "The medical use of marijuana was a godsend," Ware told the Senate panel last week.The bills are HB2514 and SB1381.Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)Author: Kari Andren, Post-Dispatch Springfield BureauPublished: March 29, 2009Copyright: 2009 St. Louis Post-DispatchWebsite: letters post-dispatch.comURL: Article:Hearing Set For Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on March 28, 2009 at 11:53:09 PT
I agree, George Servantes
"Same with police, why risk life to catch rapist and murderers when you can prosecute nonviolent people who use cannabis to relieve their pain."Plus they get money from the feds and the states with drug war statistics. Free money! Yippee! You don't get grants, gifts, and free money for solving rape and murder cases.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on March 28, 2009 at 11:48:10 PT
Years ago I had a certain admiration for her. That was before I knew who and what she really is.She's a Semblerite, an extraordinarily wicked thing in my opinion, and a prison profiteer. I've seen enough of her, personally. She makes me sick to look at her or think about her. More so because I did have a certain respect for her and I really feel stupid about that since I have a more in depth picture of her now.I wish her no ill, but she can certainly retire from the public venue as far as I'm concerned.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on March 28, 2009 at 11:17:33 PT
Jeb Bush in 2012 ???????
Oh please, no more Sons-of-Bush's in the white house!One Son-of-Babs is too much already!
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Comment #1 posted by George Servantes on March 28, 2009 at 11:07:35 PT
Marinol is expensive and not working for most ppl
It's dumb when somebody compares Marinol with only one chemical to plant which contains over 70 active chemicals. Marinol is expensive, inefective and cannot be compared to REAL stuff. But I guess that pharmacist must protect he's products. Same with police, why risk life to catch rapist and murderers when you can prosecute nonviolent people who use cannabis to relieve their pain.They are so transparent and shallow with their weak arguments against cannabis use.
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