Medical marijuana may be on the fast track to legalization in Illinois.
Skokie Rep. Lou Lang says he is close to getting the 60 House votes to pass a three-year trial medical marijuana program.
The bill will be one of the most scrutinized pieces of legislation during the General Assembly's fall session, which kicked off Tuesday.
The medical marijuana bill would allow people with specific illnesses —- who, for example, get pain relief from marijuana -— to possess small amounts purchased from licensed dispensaries. Medical marijuana use is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C.
Lang calls is "the tightest and most highly regulated medical marijuana bill ever written in this country."
Lang is pushing for a Wednesday vote on the issue.
Illinois' marijuana penalties range from 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500 for possession of less than 2.5 grams to one to three years in a state penitentiary and fines of up to $25,000 for possession of more than 30 grams.
Some cities, including Chicago, allow officers to cite those in possession of 15 grams or less with a fine.