FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 1, 2009
After Making History in Senate, Medical Marijuana Bill Poised for House Floor Vote Later This Year
CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications ............... 415-585-6404 or 202-215-4205
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS -- Although the clock ran out before it could be acted on by the Illinois House of Representatives this weekend, medical marijuana legislation is now well positioned for a House floor vote, possibly before the end of the year, advocates said today.
Within 48 hours of passing the Senate 30-28, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act had already soared through the House Human Services Committee and was ready for its final reading and vote on the House floor. Tax legislation, however, occupied all of the House's time in the session's final hours.
"This bill gained more and more momentum at every stage of the legislative process, and I think the pace at which it moved is testament to the support it enjoys," said Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), deputy majority leader and chief House sponsor of SB 1381. "Although today's top priority was the tax bill, I think the time has come for Illinois to enact a medical marijuana law. We just need to shore up a few votes before calling this bill to the floor."
The measure could be brought to the House floor for a vote during the November veto session or when the General Assembly reconvenes in January 2010 for the second half of the current session.
"Of course I'm disappointed," said Jamie Clayton of Grafton, an AIDS patient who participated in a groundbreaking FDA-approved study proving medical marijuana's efficacy in treating pain caused by nerve damage. "But the fact remains that we made it further than ever before. Hundreds of patients like myself came forward this year to plead with our legislators to enact this law, and we will not give up, ever. As someone who volunteered for a clinical study that proved the benefits of medical marijuana, I've felt the relief it can provide first-hand and learned how it can allow me to cut back on some of the prescription narcotics I have to take. A lot of people need this law, and we're not going away."
With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.