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Vote nears on medical marijuana

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013

* A vote on medical marijuana could come as early as next Tuesday, but proponents are still a vote or three short, depending on whom you talk to

Though Lang’s bill, House Bill 1, is just a few votes shy of approval, he said there’s still 10 to 12 undecided lawmakers with whom he continues to have discussions.

“When you have a controversial bill like this, sometimes it’s a moving target,” Lang said of the votes needed for passage. “There will be people who are leaning ‘yes,’ and the next day, maybe not so much. And some that were leaning ‘no’ are with you the next day.”

* From the list I’ve seen, just about every freshman target is off the bill, so I’m not buying this “I’m thinking about it” schtick

Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said Tuesday she’s still undecided.

“This is one where I feel it’s kind of a social issue, so I don’t think my own personal opinion (is a factor). I’m not voting just on who I am. I’m voting for my constituents,” Scherer said. “I’m just trying to keep my ears open.”

She’s listening mainly to House Democratic staff, who are telling targets to vote “No.”

* Anyway, Lang held a press conference yesterday

For four years now, State Representative Lou Lang has made it his mission to get medical marijuana passed in the state of Illinois, but with no success.

On Tuesday, he again asked lawmakers to pass medical marijuana for the ones who need it most, the patients.

“Nineteen other states permit the use of medical marijuana, some of these states have it done it real well,” Lang said to the media inside the Capitol Rotunda.

Skokie State Representative Lou Lang wants Illinois to become number twenty, and he said they will do it the right way.

“This is an opportunity without any cost to the taxpayers at all to allow people who need a product to get it,” added Lang.

* Yesterday’s press event was designed to showcase the plight of medical marijuana users

Jim Champion, an Army veteran from Somonauk who was diagnosed 25 years ago with multiple sclerosis, said before he started smoking marijuana, he took 54 prescription pills a day, including morphine and Valium, yet still suffered muscle spasms.

He started smoking marijuana and has been able to reduce his prescription drugs to 24 pills a day.

Paul Bachmann, a Plano resident diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago, said even after taking several strong narcotics, Bachmann could not ease the pain and crippling muscle spasms that kept him up at night — until he tried medical marijuana.

Kali McCauley of Orland Hills was 13 when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease that causes internal bleeding, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Now 22, she said she has run out of medications to try, but marijuana eases some of her symptoms.

Jessica Bauer, a 27-year-old from Rockford with terminal pancreatic cancer, said smoking marijuana helped her regain weight and enough energy to play with her 5-year-old daughter.

And they’re all criminals under Illinois state law and could go to prison for what they’re doing.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Legislators that oppose medical marijuana are either very, very ignorant or heartless. On top of it… legislators do not need to fear political ramifications… the electorate largely supports it.

  2. - RonOglesby - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    Medical MJ is simply silly. Apposing it for use here for “legit” purposes is silly and ignorant. Actually. MJ itself should be decriminalized. I mean I can go buy two bottles of jack and sit home and drink them down. Nothing illegal. Smoke one puff… Illegal…

    That said I dont smoke MJ and cant drink two bottles of jack, but it shows the simple hypocrisy.

  3. - StayFree75 - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    Ms. Bauer is taking a huge risk admitting she smokes marijuana while caring for her child. That’s more than enough to be indicated for neglect (”injurious environment”) by DCFS, have her children taken into protective custody, and have her parental rights terminated.

    I fear for her and her family and pray God blesses her with a complete recovery.

  4. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    I would think it was a good thing to kick morphine for weed.

  5. - Esquire - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    Hypothetically, Illinois approves medical marijuana. Who dispenses it? A pharmacist? Who warrants what the quality and the potency of marijuana is?

    If the wind up is that the medical marijuana law winds up as a get out of jail card for someone who makes purchases on the streets, but has a prescription from Doctor Feelgood, how have we improved matters?

    I feel that cancer patients and others deserve help, but I am concerned about the controls so this is not merely a scam.

  6. - Das Man - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    I hope Lang can push this one through. I know some terminal cancer patients who might really benefit with a controlled supply, as opposed to whatever they can get on the street.

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    “And they’re all criminals under Illinois state law and could go to prison for what they’re doing.”

    Possession of under 30 grams is a misdemeanor (with a maximum sentence of 365 days with day for day credit, so 6 mos actually served). Not a felony, no prison. Not that a State’s Atty would likely prosecute a person like this or put someone with a terminal illness in jail. There are enough good arguments for legalization of medical marijuana, no need to fuel the fire with untruths.

  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:06 am:

    Esquire, it’s all in the bill. Go read it yourself.

  9. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    Esquire sounds like one of the ones in the way of this bill-looking for reasons to kill it. The technicalities of who and how it will be done really aren’t that important. The important thing is to get relief out there for the people who NEED it. Now, I will be the first to admit that I believe in full legalization (legalize it and tax it), but to quote Rich, “ridiculous.”

  10. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    - terminal pancreatic cancer, said smoking marijuana helped her regain weight and enough energy to play with her 5-year-old daughter. -

    I don’t know how anyone can read that and be against this. Unless you believe she’s lying, but if you’re that cynical you’re past the point of reason.

  11. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    Vote ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

  12. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:31 am:

    “but I am concerned about the controls”

    I’m sorry, but the controls failed miserably. The war against marijuana is so badly lost and has been for decades. Legitimizing marijuana use by legalizing medical marijuana is beside the point. Marijuana use is already legitimate to those who use it.

    As someone who supports legal medical marijuana but wants to legalize it for recreational use, I’m okay with proceeding slowly, with the Lang bill and its strict regulations. I hope the Lang bill reassures enough legislators to pass it.

  13. - Shore - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    Lang champions issues like casinos and marijuana that people in skokie absolutely do not care about. much more of an jobs and transportation focused area. This is kind of like the congressman from wyoming who cares about pacific ocean fishing sanctuaries.

  14. - Colossus - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Shore - how does that change the substance of the bill?

    This bill is a far cry from what I’d like to see but is a step in the right direction.

  15. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    They left out the section requiring that patients only be allowed to light up on days that public schools are in session after being handcuffed to a radiator by their state certified caregiver.

    At least those who are ill and willing to jump through all the hoops won’t get arrested.

  16. - Kasich Walker, Jr. - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:07 pm:

    ….over two hundred pages in the bill and there is no provision for handcuffing patients to a radiator.

    No way this gets enough votes to pass.

  17. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    We are all moved by the anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of marijuana on various medical conditions. That is not the way we research and approve medications for use by the public in this country. Research into the nature of the substance and the conditions where it will work best is the way to go IMO. Creating a monster like what is happening in CA is not. At least that is true if we are going down the route of medical marijuana. Anything else is a back door entry into legalization. If that’s what we are doing let’s be open about it.

  18. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:15 pm:

    dd - You realize that while marijuana is classified a schedule 1 drug, it’s difficult to do research on it, right? If you’re for legalization at the federal level to make this happen, I’m right there with you.

  19. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    === Lang champions issues like casinos and marijuana that people in skokie absolutely do not care about. ===

    That’s kinda a silly statement. I’m sure the people of Skokie care as much (or as less) as the people of any other Illinois municipality on medical marijuana.

  20. - girllawyer - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:41 pm:

    This bill should be passed. I had a family member who died of cancer and marijuana was the one thing that gave him some pain relief in the last months. Fortunately for him, he lived in a more enlightened state. That said, I have to point out that no parent ever has had parental rights terminated for smoking pot. I don’t know where StayFree gets that idea but you have to be a far worse parent than that! Years ago the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a termination order because the “only” act of depravity by the father was that he had murdered the child’s mother. They reversed themselves but only after fierce outcry.

  21. - Shawshank Red - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - they should deal with this issue in a joint session . . .

  22. - danlinn - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    dd- there are other herbal/botanical medicines that are not FDA approved, do not need a doctors orders but are still available over the counter in every pharmacy in IL. The only people who don’t like CA mmj are those who are against doctors making money in a way that they are not comfortable with doctors making money. We trust our doctors to prescribe drugs, and they can prescribe any drug for any condition, however when cannabis is recommended for conditions that some folks feel are not “worthy” of mmj then folks get all up in arms about why anyone can walk into a dispensary in CA and get a recommendation. We have a for profit medical system in this country and the docs are just doing their job and trying to make money. Unfortunately, the ease with which people can get access to mmj in some of those states have roadblocked states like IL from getting this medicine to extremely sick people in IL.

    For evidence of mmj patients being arrested and prosecuted check out Brenda’s story:

    Brenda testified for mmj back when Rep. McKeon was pushing this bill in the early 2000s. Well Larry McKeon has since passed away and Brenda is now a felon, and therefore wouldn’t qualify under the current version of HB 1.

  23. - Colossus - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    Dan, always nice to hear from the horse’s mouth. It was nice meeting you last month at the Capitol, keep up the good work.

  24. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    STL, I am well aware of the limitationsl. There are more ways to do research than thru the fed but I would be fine with doing the research. It is a benign enough substance, comparatively, and the benefits for folks with chronic pain seem to be evident. That persistent side effect (happiness?, the buzz?, etc) is what gets in the way, I think. Let’s get on with it - or at least not interfere with - research into the positive aspects of the drug. I don’t think the legislature is where we determine the safety or efficacy of any drug, pharmaceutical or otherwise.

  25. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    danlinn - I am aware of some of those botanicals. I am also aware that some of these unregulated concoctions have caused some problems. Our regulatory industry could be better but I wonder about how to protect the innocent from the unscrupulous when it comes to the supplements/etc industry.

  26. - bobby day - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    pot concentrates have cured some terminal patients. it kills pain and you can still talk unlike opiates

  27. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    - There are more ways to do research than thru the fed but I would be fine with doing the research. -

    Dan, without a difficult to obtain license from the DEA, it’s illegal to do research on marijuana. Once a license is obtained, there is only one legal source of weed to study, and they don’t always share.

    There are no legal ways around these hurdles.

  28. - Esquire - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    I have friend and relatives in California and they would all have to admit the way that medical marijuana laws are administered and how the industry is regulated in the Golden State another nothing short of a joke. Every marijuana user with a hang nail or dandruff can get a “prescription” filled if necessary.

    Medical marijuana seems to be a ruse to obtain backdoor legalization. It is not unlike the quacks who issued hundreds of “prescriptions” for medicinal alcohol during Prohibition. If you want to legalize marijuana, come out and say it instead of conducting a charade and hiding behind the terminally ill.

  29. - DROD - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 4:09 pm:

    When an if these lawmakers would ever have family members who are suffering from pain or some debilitating disease an the only relief they could get was to consume Marijuana they would all vote yes. God Bless America………………..

  30. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    “Medical MJ” reminds me of “Riverboat Gambling”. To make what really was happening palatable, a game had to be played. “The gambling never touches Illinois soil”. “The MJ is for medical purposes only”.

  31. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    come on Reps, do the right thing! this bill should be law.

  32. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 5:25 pm:

    Thanks for sharing the more than pointed information re. yesterday’s Press Event showcasing specific examples of people right here in our own Backyard who ARE SUFFERING and who medical marijuana will help in terms of REDUCING their suffering! Cmon’ Springfield–this has got to be awfully close to a No-Brainer at this point with all of the conditions written into the legislation! If you’ve got an awful headache and are SUFFERING, particularly if on a daily basis with, say Migraines, you would hope, obviously, the Doctor can prescribe you something that will truly and effectively alleviate those headaches! That is all these fellow Brother and Sister Illinoisans are BEGGING you for–a means by which to ease and alleviate their SUFFERING. MANY other States have already passed it with no major, reported negative consequences…last time I checked my Atlas, the Union hasn’t kicked them out for some kind of gross irresponsible behavior–rather, it’s quite the opposite in truth as those examples so deeply remind each of us in the depth of our hearts…

    Therefore, it IS more than time now in that place we call the Prairie State, despite its’ many flaws, that I’m proud to call home, to BE that 1, 2nd, or 3rd Legislator to muster up the courage needed and vote your conscience, utilize the power your fellow Citizens and God Almighty has entrusted you with, vote YES to legalize under these strict regulations, and feel the peace in your heart and mind in DOING THE RIGHT THING by our goodly number of brothers and sisters who, sadly but so, right here in the Land of Lincoln, AGonize daily in physical misery that can be expiated once and for all!!!

  33. - park - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 8:31 pm:

    I can’t believe they can’t isolate the active (THC?) and make it into a pill. would resolve all the emotional issues about cancer stricken victims. would also keep the zeros from claiming medical issues just to get high.

    This is a really weak issue.

  34. - brian - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 9:27 pm:

    Lets face the reality of this issue. The war on drugs is obviously a failure. Countless hundreds of billions will be used only to look back and ponder all the schools, roads, and bridges that could of been built, replaced and or upgraded. Mmj will be passed eventually and it will one day be decriminalized. Set the structure and lets move forward. Who was the last person that overdosed on this plant?

  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 10, 13 @ 9:37 pm:

    This thread is like a Cheech and Chong skit.

    It is interesting that so many compare marijuana to alcohol. The human body is capable of metabolizing alcohol readily, provided that you are not drinking to excess as a binge drinker or become a chronic alcoholic. Within a matter of hours, you can sober up from alcohol. With marijuana, it can take weeks for the traces to leave the system and residues can be stored in the brain tissues causing continued impaired judgment.

    This is why the adult probation department can so easily determine if a probationer has been violating court orders to stay clean and sober. It takes a long while for the traces to pass out of the system. Milkweed thistle and herbal remedies are not going to mask it.

    Truthfully, I believe that the reason that so many folks fear the legalization of marijuana is that frequently when the police pick up potheads, other illicit drugs are not too far away. When the narcs keeping banging on the stoners, they eventually find other drugs.

  36. - SouthSide - Thursday, Apr 11, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    From Chicago: 2hrs & 24mins 133 MILES
    From Springfield: 4hrs & 47mins 281 MILES

  37. - DROD - Thursday, Apr 11, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    The state of Illinois is currently closing mental instatutions displacing hundreds of patients.Besides helping out suffering americans the tax dollars are needed.Lets quit sending our money to Mexico…Also my tax dollars if i have to move out of state to get the relief i need without the risk of going to jail…..

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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