Illinois becomes 20th state to legalize medical marijuana
Illinois governor signs law allowing medical marijuana
By Mary Wisniewski
Aug 1 (Reuters) – A law allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes in Illinois was signed on Thursday by Governor Pat Quinn, making it the second most populous state in the country after California to permit medicinal use of the drug.
“Over the years, I’ve been moved by the brave patients and veterans who are fighting terrible illnesses,” Quinn said. “They need and deserve pain relief.”
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, allows patients diagnosed with one of 35 medical conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s or lupus to use marijuana as recommended by an Illinois licensed physician.
The four-year program, which supporters call the strictest in the nation, requires a doctor’s written certification, registered patient photo identification cards and an electronic verification system.
The senate sponsor for the bill was Bill Haine, a downstate Democrat who is a former prosecutor. The bill passed the Illinois house and senate this past spring.
“We are ensuring only those suffering from the most serious diseases receive this treatment,” said Haine. “This law takes additional steps to prevent fraud and abuse.”
Nineteen other states plus the District of Columbia have effective medical marijuana laws, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a non-profit Washington, D.C.-based group. The project does not count Maryland on the list because it only allows for a “very limited research program,” according to spokesman Morgan Fox.
Under the Illinois law, patients would be limited to 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of marijuana every two weeks. The marijuana must be grown and distributed in Illinois, kept in a closed container and not used in public or in front of minors.
Read the rest of the story here via Illinois governor signs law allowing medical marijuana | Reuters.