* Passage yesterday was expected since the bill was sent to the Executive Committee, which means it was greased…
An Illinois Senate committee has approved a proposal that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Senate Executive Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to send the measure to the full Senate. The proposal allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions.
The measure creates a pilot program that limits the frequency and amount of marijuana patients can buy.
The Senate floor vote is final passage.
* Yesterday’s most interesting objection…
Republican Leader Christine Radogno told [sponsoring Sen. Bill Haine] she doubted that if medical marijuana were legalized, it would strictly stay in the hands of its intended patients. “It will get out on the streets,” she said. She told Haine she thought the bill’s scope was too narrow for it to work. “I don’t think it addresses the bigger picture. I really think the question is if we should legalize it.”
OK, but would she actually vote for full legalization? If so, that’s huge.
* Another objection…
Supporters have touted the bill as the most restrictive of its kind in the nation, but questions during the more than hour-long debate arose over whether the bill would open up legalization of other substances and whether marijuana is an addictive ‘gateway drug.’
“I’ve seen the devastation of illegal drugs,” said Haine, who served four terms as Madison County state’s attorney. “I’ve seen it, but we can’t build a civilized society on a foundation of fear of a few people that are demented or are addicted that abuse medicines.”
But Jacksonville police chief Anthony Grootens, who worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency for 21 years, testified that he’s seen marijuana linked with other drugs such as heroin and that the amount patients could obtain under Haine’s bill leaves too much room for abuse.
“I don’t know if it’s a gateway drug or not, but what I will tell you, in the thousands of arrests and search warrants that we’ve conducted…for either heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, we routinely found marijuana,” Grootens said. “Does it go hand in hand? I don’t know. But we found it, and we’re still finding it.”
Grootens claimed that even if changes were made to the bill, he wouldn’t support it because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
A very weak argument by Chief Grootens.