SPRINGFIELD–The Illinois Senate today voted to approve legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical reasons for some seriously ill patients with a physician’s permission.
The 30-28 vote, with one senator voting present, means the measure now goes to the House for consideration in the waning days of the spring session.
“It is not intended to be a stealth legalization,” said sponsoring Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), a former Madison County prosecutor. “It is a program that’s enacted for the compassionate use by people who have been recommended by a doctor.”
Haine said similar legislation has been approved in all 13 states where it was on the ballot, regardless of partisan leanings. In an effort to encourage votes, the legislation would create a program that would last for three years and require renewal.
But Sen. Dale Righter (R-Charleston) said the legislation was loosely drafted and did not require criminal background checks for people who handle marijuana or grow it under license from the state Department of Public Health.
The Senate defeated similar legislation two years ago.
by Rick Pearson