Clout St: Medical marijuana measure fails in Illinois House
SPRINGFIELD --- The Illinois House today voted down a proposal that would have legalized marijuana for medical use.
The measure got 53 votes, but needed 60 to pass. House Republican leader Tom Cross came on board, but supporters still could not muster enough votes.
Sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the proposal was aimed at people in pain who “need a little help from us.”
He called on longtime opponents to “take their heels out of the sand” and “vote your own conscience.”
“It’s not about drugs. It’s not about marijuana. It’s about health care,” Lang said, pointing to the House gallery, where supporters stood.
But one of the toughest arguments against the legislation came from a former FBI agent, Rep. Jim Sacia, R-Pecatonica.
“I am adamantly opposed to the bill, and I base that on 30 years of law enforcement,” Sacia said. “Put it in a pill form, regulate it by the FDA, I will support your bill.”
Cross, a former prosecutor from Oswego, said he decided to support the measure because it was stricter than a previous bill that Lang tried but failed to pass a few months ago in the previous General Assembly.
Cross maintained he consulted with doctors and nurses who assured him that some sick people can only get relief from marijuana. He also noted that the use of marijuana would be limited to people with 19 specific illnesses that range from lupus to cancer.
Doses would have been dispensed from a limited number of highly regulated not-for-profits, rather than drugstores. Penalties including potential prison time were aimed at discouraging attempts to turn a medical prescription into dime bags on the street.
After the vote, Lang said he will continue to try to build support for the measure with the hope of passing legislation before lawmakers leave for summer break.