A bill that would legalize medical marijuana for select patients passed the Illinois House today by a 61-57 vote.
Yesterday, almost 250 Illinois physicians spoke out in favor of the legislation's passage, arguing that marijuana does indeed have therapeutic effects on the seriously ill and can be safer than some readily-available pharmaceutical products on the market.
The bill, which is being promoted as one of the most regulated pieces of medical marijuana legislation in the nation, would legalize a four-year pilot program for a highly-select number of patients with severe medical conditions. Medical marijuana legislation would need to once again be passed by the state legislature after the duration of the four-year program.
The bill is now headed to the state Senate, which previously passed similar legislation. If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, who said he is "open-minded" on the topic, Illinois would become the 19th U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana.