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Thursday, May 22, 2014

* The House passed this bill 98-18

Children who suffer from epilepsy would be able to use medical marijuana to treat their condition under legislation the House overwhelmingly approved today.

The measure would add epilepsy to the list of ailments treatable under the state’s medical marijuana program and specifically allow children to have access.

Sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the legislation creates a “path” that would help many children in need of relief from seizures. “This product is incredibly helpful for young children with epilepsy,” Lang said.

Lang received support from House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. Durkin said he was skeptical at first, but he was convinced children would not become addicted.

* And check this out

The GOP caucus was divided on the issue: 14 Republicans voted no; 32 voted yes.

Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said while she’d be open to extending the current marijuana law to kids with epilepsy, she didn’t think it was wise to give the Department of Public Health the power to extend medicinal marijuana law to minors with other conditions.

“We’re giving them a lot of leeway to decide…what conditions this product could be used for, setting it up with the rulemakers and not just specifying that it’s only for epilepsy—which we know it helps epilepsy,” Ives said. “They’re going to have a lot of leeway here.”

But several Republicans supported Lang’s bill, including Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, and Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, who both initially voted against the medicinal marijuana law.

Rep. Ives says “we know it helps epilepsy.”

Man, that’s progress, even if she didn’t vote for it.

Can you imagine such a bill even being debated a few years ago? No way. Medical marijuana for children? You’d have been tarred and feathered and run outta town.

The roll call is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


25 Comments
  1. - John A Logan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    The decline of Western Civilization.


  2. - OneMan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Glad to see we are making progress on this


  3. - Nonplussed - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    A few years ago, there was no Dem supermajority plus a liberal governor. It is interesting that that combination has led to many liberal reforms (e.g., same-sex marriage) that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago.


  4. - Ghost - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    Mitch McConnell would be proud; dare to imagine a moderate GOP.


  5. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    -Rep. Ives says “we know it helps epilepsy.”-

    Interesting. Illinois Review has a post up today that says this;

    “While there is no medical proof, some parents claim that consuming the oil of marijuana reduces seizures.”

    So-called Christians willing to disobey the ten commandments and bear false witness so they can lock children with epilepsy in cages for using cannabis to reduce their seizures. Barbaric.


  6. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    I know Margaret Storey, who has a daughter with severe epilepsy. She was very involved in getting this bill passed. Congratulations Margaret! Well done.

    I think Susan Axelrod might be smiling today too. This is not a cure, and it may not be a good therapy for every patient, but there is medical evidence that it has helped some patients greatly improve. I’m glad this was included in the broader law.

    There was never really a good reason to exclude minors in the first place, just a holdover political judgement from the prohibition era.


  7. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    I think the advocates did a stand up job on this.

    The first letter I got was a little shocking. The idea of medical marijuana was very alien to me. But more kept coming, describing the huge difference it made. Soon enough, I had several pictures of kids who had been helped at my desk, and was a full supporter.


  8. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    Fox News will probably slug this as “Illinois to force children to take drugs…” Film at 5, 6 and 10!


  9. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Sadly, Rep. Ives is more progressive on this issue than President Obama is. If Obama believed cannabis and its CBDs helped children with epilepsy he would remove it from the Schedule I list of drugs that his administration wrongly believes has no medicinal value.


  10. - DuPage Rep - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    Proft must not have provided Ives any talking points on this.


  11. - dupage dan - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    I spent some time looking for medical evidence that pot helps with seizures and pretty much all I found was anecdotal. I realize that the gov’t isn’t too helpful regarding useful research with pot and I think that should change. I also think the potential risk of side effects are low so maybe this issue shouldn’t be hammered. I am uncomfortable with the GA making decisions that they are not qualified to make based on scant evidence. They are a legislative body - they are not the FDA.


  12. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    @dupage dan:

    I think if you had a child that had epilepsy you might feel differently. My son had cancer when he was young and I would have done anything to help him. I don’t think we should have to wait for the federal government - including the FDA - to make policy on marijuana. Let the kids have it if it helps.


  13. - abraham froman - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    Dupage dan: the FDA approves drugs that kill people(although some are helpful for some people), the ILGA is simply changing our policies about a plant, which they are qualified and allowed to do. ~Snark included


  14. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    The more important question is NOT does it help, but does it help better than other existing options with less detrimental side effects.

    From what I’ve heard, cocaine can be great for getting rid of a headache, but not much better than aspirin or other more benign medications.

    Does this mean we should legalize cocaine?

    I really hope the NECESSITY of giving THC to kids was debated before the approval.


  15. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Arizona bob-

    It most definitely is. Without getting to deep into the weeds, the drugs cannabis can replace, in this example and most including several of the most powerful narcotics and opiates on the market. Stuff with devastating side effects.


  16. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    ==The more important question is NOT does it help==

    I think that’s the most important question. There are a lot of drugs out there that treat the same thing. Should we get rid of all of them but one? All drugs have side effects. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them.


  17. - The Doc - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    Arizona Bob, you’ve packed an impressive quantity of straw men and ignorance into a short post.

    You clearly know not of what you speak. Move along, please.


  18. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Cannabis was outlawed by a legislative body based on scant, anecdotal evidence to begin with, some of which was purely racist. The FDA didn’t ban cannabis. Where was the scientific proof that industrial hemp deserved to be prohibited? Marijuana policy since the 1920s has not at all been based on medical evidence or scientific studies, so why should they start now.


  19. - Anon - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    A study released in April showed changes in two regions of the brain in moderate (once a week) teen users. My child is already experiencing nefarious brain changes from the disease process. Should I really risk this? Not without more and better research. Maybe after the disease progresses further, I will feel differently…


  20. - low level - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    Rich - 100% correct. Looking at the vote, just amazing. Very conservative members voting yes. Thank God it does appear the old “law and order, any substance made ‘illegal’ must be bad and immoral” thinking is going by the wayside.

    Not just here, but around the country it is losing its power as a political weapon so moving forward at least on this we hopefully can make decisions based on reason and compassion and NOT politics.


  21. - low level - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    @ Jeff - agree completely. Well said.


  22. - OldSmoky2 - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    ==I am uncomfortable with the GA making decisions that they are not qualified to make based on scant evidence.==

    I totally agree with that. That’s why I’m glad to see legislators allow the affected kids’ doctors and parents to make this decision. It’s a wise move.


  23. - A guy... - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 4:36 pm:

    To do the right thing on this one, just substitute a word for “marijuana”. In order to help young children cope with the hardships of epilepsy, ______ was approved today, as it there is strong evidence it helps.

    Compassion requires an “aye” vote.


  24. - georgeatt - Thursday, May 22, 14 @ 9:37 pm:

    The sad fact is marijuana should be legalized and placed on the same shelf as alcohol and tobacco with one stipulation: It should be labeled the safer alternative drug. The decline of civilization did not have its beginnings in the current legalization movement taking the USA by storm and avalanche: it began with marijuana prohibition in the 30s. What a huge blunder that has caused untold suffering.


  25. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, May 23, 14 @ 12:46 am:

    Nice job, Springfield (no matter HOW much SOME (smart) guys say you need to be “shaken UP” so vigorously…!

    Sadly, I just lost a sister-in-law just over a week ago who suffered from Epilepsy…she passed away all too young and suddenly. Perhaps many years ago she could have benefitted some from this compassionate law…!


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