Senate approves medical marijuana bill, sends it to House
A measure legalizing medical marijuana finally made it through the state Senate on Wednesday, but a major hurdle remains before it can become Illinois law.
The Senate voted 30-28 for Senate Bill 1381, giving the measure right at the 30 'yes' votes needed to pass. The measure would allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients with diseases like AIDS and glaucoma.
Sen. Dale Righter, R-Charleston, raised concerns about the lack of background checks for people who would handle the drugs. But Sen. Bill Haine, the measure's sponsor, insisted only those who were prescribed cannabis would have access to the drug.
"It is not intended to be a stealth legalization (of marijuana)," said Haine, D-Alton.
The majority of senators who voted in favor of the measure said the legalization of medical marijuana was about relieving suffering.
"Pharmaceuticals had no answer for the pain (my dad) had to go through," said Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, as he choked back tears. "This is about compassion. This is truly about compassion."
The measure now heads to the House. At a statehouse press conference earlier in the year, Rep. Lou Lang said he was unsure how far any medical marijuana measure would get in the House.
Lang sponsored a measure similar to the one passed out of the Senate that died in the House earlier in the year.
GateHouse News Service State Capitol Bureau