Four medical marijuana patients lobbied in Springfield yesterday in
an effort to boost support for legislation that would legalize the drug
for medicinal purposes.
“I’m just really, really hoping that they
can see where we’re coming from as patients ... that this really can
help us,” said Jessica Bauer of Rockford, who suffers from pancreatic
cancer, during a press conference at the Statehouse.
Sponsored by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), HB 1
would create the four-year Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot
Program Act. Lang describes the program as tougher and more regulated than
any other states’ medical marijuana legislation.
The bill has received eight co-sponsors and is on the calendar to receive a third reading.
patients, only people with medical conditions such as cancer, multiple
sclerosis (MS) or HIV/AIDS, could use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over
a two-week period. Patients have to receive approval from a doctor and
the Department of Public Health before they get a prescription.
After the pilot program ends, lawmakers would decide whether or not to make the law permanent.
become a prisoner in my own body with the atrophy, the muscle spasms ... I’ve tried every pill, every shot, everything they could offer me,” said
Jim Champion, a Somonauk patient of MS for more than 25 years. “I no
longer take Valium and morphine and some of the heavier drugs ... I was a
prisoner to all of these prescription drugs they kept giving me."
Champion said that smoking marijuana allowed him to greatly reduce the number of pills he consumed every day, from 54 to 25.
According to Lang, 10 to 12 lawmakers are still undecided about the legislation, and it is still a few votes away from being passed.
you have a controversial bill like this, sometimes it’s a moving
target,” Lang said. “There will be people who are leaning ‘yes,’ and the
next day, maybe not so much. And some that were leaning ‘no’ are with
you the next day.”