Illinois legislature could legalize medical marijuana Friday

Chris Kirk

The state legislature is slated today to vote on a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

Citing medical research showing marijuana effectively treats pain, nausea and other symptoms of various debilitating medical conditions, the bill would allow people to legally possess marijuana if their physicians diagnose them with debilitating medical conditions. The act considers a variety of conditions to be debilitating, including cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C and conditions causing pain or nausea that are unresponsive to other treatments.

Federal law still prohibits possession of marijuana, medical or not. However, the act would virtually protect medical marijuana users because states are not required to arrest or prosecute people for violating federal laws, according to the bill.

The bill is only meant as a pilot program and automatically repeals itself three years after it comes into effect, according to the bill.

Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-9th. and state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-18th, are sponsors of the bill, according to the Illinois General Assembly website.

The state senate has already approved the bill. The governor must sign it before it becomes law.

-Chris Kirk