Saturday, May 18, 2013

Illinois Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The Illinois legislature sent a medical marijuana bill to Gov. Pat Quinn Friday, after the Senate passed a measure 35-21 largely along party lines. The measure would permit marijuana use with a doctor’s prescription for 33 specified ailments, require users, growers, and dispensaries to undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks, and limit the number of growers and dispensaries.

The news comes as several new studies are released suggesting that marijuana may aid in post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and as a possible weight control remedy. All of these studies, however, were either performed in other countries or based on surveys or self-reporting from marijuana users, because federal agencies have blocked access to a legal supply of marijuana even for academic studies.

Earlier this month, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed Maryland’s much more limited marijuana law, which provides narrow access to medical marijuana for research purposes. If the bill is signed into law, Illinois would become the 20th state with a medical marijuana law, in addition to the District of Columbia. Gov. Quinn has said he is “open-minded” about the measure.

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