Illinois House Says No to Medi-Pot Bill

Bill fails to muster 60 votes to pass

Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010  |  Updated 4:30 PM CDT
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The Illinois House on Tuesday failed to muster enough votes to advance a bill allowing the use of medical marijuana.

Senate Bill 1381, sponsored by Skokie Democrat Lou Lang, received 53 votes but needed 60 to pass. 

Former talk show host Montel Williams, who was diagnosed 10 years ago with multiple sclerosis, was in Springfield to lobby for passage of the bill and chided opponents for spreading "false information."  He said he uses pot to help ease pain and calm the tremors from his condition.

The bill would have allowed people to get permission from a physician and the Department of Public Health to have marijuana plants in their home and use it for treating the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses.

Fifteen other states in the union have laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Lang said Illinois' version would be among the strictest in the nation.

"This is the most controlled, narrow bill in America. We did that to get the ball rolling, to help people," he said, according to the Pantagraph. "We cannot be afraid of the word 'marijuana.'"

But critics said other legal drugs can ease symptoms and that Lang’s bill doesn’t address medical treatment -- just possession of pot.

"This goes well beyond medical treatment. What is the message we are sending our children. This has been illegal for a reason," said state Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill.

The Senate OK’d the bill in May.  Gov. Pat Quinn indicated that he would have signed the measure.

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