Published: February 15, 2006
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS -- The medical marijuana bill, S.B. 2568, passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today by a 6-5 vote as a new poll showed greater than two-to-one support for the measure. Passage would make Illinois the 12th state to protect patients from arrest for use of medical marijuana with their doctors' recommendations.
"This is a major step forward," said Christopher Fichtner, M.D., former director of mental health for the Illinois Department of Human Services. "The evidence that marijuana is a safe, effective medicine for some very ill patients has been repeatedly verified by government commissions in the U.S., Canada, Britain and elsewhere. This is a sensible, well-crafted bill that deserves quick passage."
Fichtner, a medical consultant to IDEAL Reform, testified at the hearing along with multiple sclerosis patient Julie Falco of Chicago.
The new statewide poll of likely general election voters, conducted by Anzalone-Liszt Research, Inc., found 62 percent support for legislation "that would allow people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other serious illnesses to use and grow their own marijuana for medical purposes, as long as their physician approves." Only 28 percent were opposed, with 10 percent undecided. The poll, conducted by telephone Feb. 10-13, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.
Full results of the poll are available at:http://www.mpp.org/2006_il_poll.html
"Since the passage of Rhode Island's medical marijuana law in January, we are seeing tremendous momentum," said Adam Horowitz, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "This new Illinois poll reflects what we are seeing nationwide, and legislators are learning how hugely popular medical marijuana legislation is."
The states that currently protect medical marijuana patients from arrest are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
With more than 19,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana—both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment.