Illinois will become the 20th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. The bill Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Thursday sports some of the toughest restrictions seen in a medical cannabis program. Quinn says it will responsibly allow legal access to pain relief to seriously ill people across Illinois. “It’s very important we do whatever we can to ease their pain,” Quinn said. “It’s a very well-drafted bill.”
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The law allows only patients with one of more than 40 serious illnesses, such as cancer or Lupus, to obtain medical marijuana. One of the bill’s sponsors, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), says it’s the preferred alternative to other pain medications for many patients. “Those particular medications, they will all tell you, put them flat on their back,” Lang said. “In short, those medications which were designed to help them feel better actually ruined their lives.”
One of those patients at the bill signing ceremony was Army veteran Jim Champion of Somonauk, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. After once taking 60 prescriptions daily, he’s glad to have a legal way of obtaining medical marijuana, which he says eliminates his need for many of those other medications.
“Now, after years of telling my story to state lawmakers, it’s nice to know they heard me and the other patients of Illinois loud and clear,” Champion said.