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House approves medical marijuana bill, which now goes to Senate

On Tuesday, almost 250 physicians gathered at a news conference in Chicago to urge state lawmakers to legalize marijuana use for patients with serious illnesses. As our readers know, the legal status of marijuana is somewhat precarious, with more and more states approving use of the drug medical purposes, and two states having legalized its recreational use.

Several physicians spoke at the news conference, and emphasized that marijuana can, in fact, be a safer and more effective treatment alternative to narcotics for patients with diseases such as cancer and HIV. The physicians, members of the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, argued that the use of medical marijuana should be up to doctors rather than law enforcement.

Chicago resident spoke at the news conference on Tuesday, testifying to the benefits marijuana had conferred upon her in regard to her multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, a February poll of Illinois residents overwhelmingly supported legalization of marijuana in Illinois.

Illinois lawmakers are currently considering whether to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The proposal, House Bill 1, would create a four-year pilot program to allow those suffered from specific medical conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The Illinois House passed the bill on Wednesday, and it will now go on to the Senate for consideration. In the House, the bill was approved 61-57, one vote above the minimum of 60 needed to advance to the Senate.

We'll keep our readers updated on any developments.

Source: Huff Post Chicago, "Medical Marijuana Illinois Doctors Support: Medical Professionals Ask State To OK Legal Weed," April 16, 2013

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