While local legislators predict the Illinois Senate has the votes needed to pass a proposed medical marijuana bill, those same legislators are taking a dim view of the proposal that would legalize a person with specific medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV/AIDS, the ability to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of it during a 14-day period.
The House has already approved such a measure and if the Senate and Quinn sign off on the bill, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program would be created for a four-year period, after which time it would be re-evaluated.
While the Illinois House narrowly voted for the bill, 61-57, area legislators David Reis, R-Ste. Marie; John Cavaletto, R-Salem; and Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, did not.
Reis said medical marijuana initiatives are proven failures in some of the other 18 states that allow the substance to be used for medical purposes.
“This has been a failure in California and a failure in Colorado,” Reis said. “Why do we want to repeat those same failures?
“The vast majority of people in my district feel like this is the wrong message to send,” Reis added.
Halbrook said he was also concerned about the message that passing House Bill 1 would send.
“I think it tells our kids this product is safe,” Halbrook said.
Halbrook said he also objected that medicinal marijuana would not be managed through licensed pharmacies. Nor, he said, was there any way for police to tell whether a driver was under the influence of it while driving without a blood test.
Cavaletto said the bill is nothing more than an excuse to make marijuana more acceptable in Illinois society.
“There’s no way to control it,” he said. “The oversight is not there. I think it’s just an excuse to open up the state and make it more liberal.”