In Illinois earlier this year the legislature adjourned before a vote was taken on Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act; however, the bill can still be called for a vote during the November veto session, or in January 2011.
The bill’s ponsor, State Representative Lou Lang, says some people, for instance those receiving chemotherapy, should be allowed the pain relief they can only get from medical marijuana. Law enforcement officers, such as Chris Endress, Director of QCMEG, feel differently however and worry that legalizing cannabis will just mean that more ends up on the streets; he says, “If you can yield a $1000 to $5000 profit tax free, per plant, what’s going to stop someone from growing more than they are allowed to and selling it on the street?” He also believes that legalizing cannabis strips away employees’ rights for a drug free workplace.
Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act in Summary
- This legislation would make a narrow exception to Illinois’ criminal laws to prevent seriously ill patients from being arrested and jailed for the doctor-advised medical use of cannabis.
- The health department would issue medical cannabis ID cards.
- A registered patient or caregiver would be allowed no more than 2oz of marijuana and three mature plants
To qualify for an ID card, a patient would have to submit to the health department a physician’s written certification that the patient would be likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from cannabis and that the patient has one of the qualifying medical conditions:
- ALS, hepatitis C
- Crohn’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- multiple sclerosis
- nail patella
- cachexia/wasting syndrome
- severe and persistent muscle spasms
- intractable pain that does not respond to other medications
- severe and debilitating nausea
- Other conditions can be added by petitioning the Department of Human Services once the Act takes place
- Patients could obtain their medical cannabis from a state-licensed compassion center.
- The department of health would set rules on security, record keeping, and oversight.
- Compassion centers would be subject to inspections, and all of their staff would have to register with the health department and be subject to background checks.
- Patients who could not get to a compassion center could designate a caregiver to grow their medicine for them.
- Cannabis would have to be grown in an enclosed, locked area.
- The bill maintains commonsense restrictions, including prohibitions on public use of cannabis and driving under the influence.
- Employers would not be required to allow patients to be impaired at work or possess cannabis at a workplace
Summary of states with pending medical marijuana legislation.