Senate Bill 1381, sponsored by three-term former state's
attorney Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, is the companion bill to
House Bill 2514, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, which
passed the House Health and Human Services Committee 4-3 on March 4.
"This is an important step for suffering Illinoisans who rely on
medical cannabis because they, in consultation with their doctors,
have determined it is the best treatment available to them," Haine
said. "I'm grateful to my colleagues in the public health committee
who listened to science and reason today and made the sensible,
compassionate decision to pass this bill."
The vote clears the way for possible floor votes by the entire
Senate and House for the respective bills -- a first for Illinois.
Advocates hope state lawmakers will note that 63 percent of Michigan
voters approved a similar law last November and that a 2008
statewide poll shows 68 percent support among Illinois voters for
such a law.
"I don't want to use marijuana, but it is the only thing that
relieves the crippling nerve pain that comes with my treatments for
HIV/AIDS," said Jamie Clayton, a Grafton resident who participated
in a groundbreaking FDA-approved study proving medical marijuana's
efficacy in treating pain caused by nerve damage. "The only question
is whether patients like me will continue to be prosecuted for using
a medicine that works, or whether our elected officials will
acknowledge available scientific evidence and the will of their
constituents and vote in favor of this legislation. All we're asking
is to be allowed to treat our illnesses in peace, which we should be
able to do if we have our doctors' approval."
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With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers
nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana
policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that
the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to
regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more
[Text from file received from the
Marijuana Policy Project]