Medical marijuana sponsor hopeful for Illinois Senate OK


Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The chief sponsor of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana says he's hopeful it will pass in the Illinois Senate after winning approval in the Illinois House.
State Sen. Bill Haine said Wednesday that the bill is about "reasonableness." The Alton Democrat says the state shouldn't prosecute people who use marijuana to relieve themselves from pain.
House lawmakers approved the plan Wednesday. The measure allows physicians to prescribe up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to patients with specific medical conditions, including serious illnesses.
Haine says he hopes the bill will come up for a vote in the Senate before it recesses at the end of May.
The Senate approved a bill authorizing medical marijuana in 2009. But it failed in the House.

Earlier story:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.    

Lawmakers voted 61-57 Wednesday to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions.

The legislation goes to the state Senate, where a similar version was approved in 2009. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman said this week he supports the legislation.

The measure gives a framework for a four-year pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks.  The legislation sets a 2.5 ounce limit per patient per purchase.           

Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the harmful effects of other prescription drugs. Opponents say the program would encourage the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.           

Gov. Pat Quinn hasn't said whether he would sign the measure.

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