By Ray Long and Monique Garcia, published in The Chicago Tribune
The Illinois House today defeated a measure that would have allowed people to use marijuana for relief of chronic pain. The medical marijuana bill got 53 votes, but needed 60 to pass. Another 59 lawmakers voted against it, and one voted present.
Sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, argued the measure was aimed at giving people in pain a better quality of life, particularly after doctors have tried multiple medications that have not helped a person suffering from a debilitating illnesses.
“There are people who need our help,” Lang said, pointing to the House gallery, where people with chronic illnesses watched in hopes of passage.
Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Troy, a pharmacist, argued the legislation does not provide enough regulation.
“This should be called the marijuana possession law,” Stephens said. “It doesn’t restrict the use in any one way.”
The bill would have set up a series of controls aimed at restricting access to marijuana, including requirements that a doctor would have to give the patient permission and that a patient would have get a license from the state public health officials. The proposal, if enacted, would have expired after three years to study whether it should have been made permanent.
Gov. Pat Quinn previously expressed support for the idea, saying those who are seriously ill should have access to any medical treatments that may help relieve their pain.