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March 2007
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Illinois – gradually working toward a medical marijuana law

Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill receives its first hearing today. Unfortunately, I can’t be there — I’d love to hear Julie Falco again. What a wonderful person.
From what I’ve heard so far, I think there’s a really good chance that medical marijuana will make it out of committee. Then we’ll have to see what happens.
David Ostrow has an outstanding OpEd in yesterday’s Chicago Sun Times: Research, not rhetoric: Marijuana can save lives

Clearly, the White House and its drug czar, John Walters, should abandon their rigid, unscientific rejection of medical marijuana and start reshaping federal policy to match medical reality. And if they won’t act, Congress should. There are a number of actions Congress can take to put federal medical marijuana policy on a path toward sanity.
The first, and simplest, is to prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to raid and arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers in the 11 states where the medical use of marijuana is legal under state law. This would remove the cloud of fear that now hangs over hundreds of thousands of desperately ill Americans and those who care for them.
But that should be just the beginning. Everything about federal medical marijuana policy should be reconsidered, based on science, common sense, and simple human decency.
There is no longer any doubt that marijuana can be a useful medicine for some very ill patients, a medicine that can literally help people stay alive. So even as we await federal action, Illinois — where the Senate Public Health Committee will hold a hearing on the medical marijuana bill Tuesday — should create a workable medical marijuana program, like those now in place in 11 states.
It is time to end our government’s war on the sick and dying.

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