Thursday, March 26, 2009
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Illinois medical marijuana bill passes Senate Public Health Committee 6-3

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[March 26, 2009]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Wednesday the Illinois Senate Public Health Committee passed a bill 6-3 that would allow seriously ill patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest if their doctor has recommended it.

InsuranceSenate 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 information, visit

[Text from file received from the Marijuana Policy Project]

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