Next in our 2013 Accomplishments series is the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program to establish legal medical marijuana.
The Senate gave final approval to the state’s first-ever medical marijuana program earlier this year. Culminating years of work, much of it led by State Senator Bill Haine and other Senate Democrats, this responsible, compassionate measure will give patients and their doctors the freedom to choose cannabis as an alternative treatment for some of the most devastating illnesses.
In committee, patients and doctors illustrated how much pain and suffering can result from the powerful pharmaceuticals that are meant to treat diseases.
During debate, senators recounted stories of friends and family members who suffered from chronic pain and debilitating illnesses whose suffering could have been eased by access to medical marijuana.
The Medical Cannabis Pilot Program is the strictest medical marijuana law in America. It requires a written certification from a doctor who has a bonafide relationship with a qualified patient, calls for a photo ID card and implements an electronic verification system. Likewise, the network of 22 cultivation centers and 60 licensed dispensaries will have strict security procedures and direct oversight by the Illinois State Police.
Use is restricted:
- In public
- In motor vehicles
- While operating any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat
- In the presence of minors
- On or near school grounds
- In correctional facilities or any building owned or controlled by the state
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have one of 42 specified illnesses
- Must undergo a criminal background check
- Must notify police officers that they are approved to possess marijuana if stopped
- Are required to automatically undergo a field sobriety test if stopped
- Must have a verifiable, long-term relationship of treating the patient’s specific ailment before prescribing marijuana
- Must be an Illinois licensed MD or DO
- Must follow all generally accepted standards of practice; keeping full medical records
- Must provide a written certification to the patient
- Cannot have any financial interest in prescribing marijuana
- Cannot advertise in a dispensary or refer patients to a specific dispensary
Passed by both the House and Senate in May, House Bill 1 was sent to the governor's office on June 5 and awaits his signature. If he signs it, Illinois would become the country's 19th state allowing medical marijunana.
Get to know...
Senator Thomas Cullerton
23rd Legislative District
Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Labor And Commerce; Local
Government; State Government & Veterans Affairs; Transportation; Committee
of the Whole.
Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village
president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.