After years of delays and narrow-misses, might the Illinois state legislature finally be ready to legalize medical marijuana in the land of Lincoln.
In an interview with Pekin Times, state Rep. Lou Lang, the marijuana bill's sponsor, said that the bill is today just "one or two" votes short of passage in the state's House of Representatives, where similar legislation has languished in the past.
Eighteen other states plus Washington, D.C. have already legalized the use of marijuana by individuals with particular medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer or multiple sclerosis. And Lang's proposal -- House Bill 1 -- has even tighter regulations than those of past failed iterations which at the time were already the most strictly-written in the country.
As a part of a four-year trial outlined in the bill, approved marijuana users would get a special ID card allowing them to buy limited amounts of the drug from one of 66 state-licensed dispensaries.
The bill was already OKed by the House Human Services Committee earlier this month and similar legislation has been approved by the state Senate in the past.
A February poll of Illinois residents overwhelmingly supported the legalization of marijuana in the state, but opponents to the measure argue its passage would increase recreational use of the drug, especially among teens.