Nearly 250 Illinois physicians endorse medical marijuana

Illinois House of Representatives expected to vote this week on legislation that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses

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[April 17, 2013]  CHICAGO -- At a news conference Tuesday, a group of doctors announced the support of nearly 250 Illinois physicians for allowing patients with serious illnesses to obtain and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

"For many patients, the treatment can sometimes be worse than the disease," said Dr. Margaret Millar of Moline, one of the endorsing physicians. "Having seen the devastating, and all-too-often lethal toll that legally prescribed narcotics can take, I support medical marijuana as a safer, milder treatment option that carries no risk of fatal overdose."

Specifically, the doctors signed on to the following statement:

"Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial."

The Illinois House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on House Bill 1, which would make Illinois the 19th state to allow patients with certain conditions, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. It would also establish a network of state-regulated cultivation centers and dispensaries to provide marijuana to qualified patients.

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"It should be up to physicians, not police and prosecutors, to decide whether medical marijuana is the right treatment for their patients," said Dan Riffle, deputy director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Seriously ill people who benefit from medical marijuana should be able to obtain it legally and safely. Our laws should promote the doctor-patient relationship, not the dealer-patient relationship."

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The Marijuana Policy Project, the nationís largest marijuana-policy-reform organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.marijuanapolicy.org/.

[Text from file received from the Marijuana Policy Project]

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