Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Fails

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Various types of marijuana on display at a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles,

    The Illinois House has voted down a three-year pilot program for medical marijuana.

    The measure got only 53 of the 60 votes it needed to pass. Sixty-one people voted "no.''

    The bill -- HB30 -- would have allowed people to take marijuana to relieve pain and nausea for a specific list of illnesses, such as cancer and AIDS.

    It would have barred people from buying the marijuana anywhere except 59 licensed, not-for-profit sellers.

    House Republican Leader Tom Cross endorsed this bill after opposing earlier versions. He said it's only right to help relieve people's suffering.

    But critics warned that a medical marijuana program could provide cover for illegal marijuana sales.

    Fifteen other states have laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    Laws allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in pill or plant form to treat medical conditions have been on the books in Illinois since the late 1970s. The doctor must first get approval from both the Department of Human Services and the state police.

    The measure was approved by a Illinois House committee last week.