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.
Medical marijuana consumers automatically consent to submit themselves to a sobriety field test should a police officer suspect they were driving under the influence of the drug. Some opponents say the test works for alcohol but not marijuana.
Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without causing the harmful side effects of some prescription drugs.
Gov. Pat Quinn has said his staff members have been involved in drafting the bill but that he hasn't made a final decision on whether he would sign it, saying "We'll take a look at the final product."
Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, and other supporters have been trying to legalize medical marijuana for several years. A measure passed the Senate in 2009 but fell short in the House, where just six Republicans voted yes. No bill since then has made it to a floor vote in either chamber.
Copyright Associated Press