Cheers of joy and statements like “it’s about time” echoed throughout some parts of the Land of Lincoln today.
Today Illinois is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana.
In April 2013, the Illinois House passed measures to begin the legalization.
Today just short of a month later, lawmakers voted 35-21 to send the measure to the Governor for final approval.
The future of the bill is now in the hands of the Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn.
Up to this point Governor Quinn has only said he would be open minded to legalizing medical marijuana use in cases of chronic illness.
Health experts and supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the detrimental side effects of other prescription drugs.
Critics of the bill worry about an increase in recreational drug use or misuse by adolescents and teens.
Proponents of the bill point to the regulations put in place by the measure including regulating dispensing centers and allowing only 22 growers of medical marijuana. It also requires both patients and caregivers to undergo background checks.
The measure is a framework for a four-year pilot program and has many who suffer from terminal illness cheering.
Illinois would be the 19th state to legalize marijuana for use in illnesses such as cancer, MS, AIDS, ALS, and other debilitating conditions.
The topic is one of great controversy and is being debated more than ever.
One of the major criticisms of cannabis as medicine is opposition to smoking as a method of consumption. Advances have created edible forms of cannabis as well as medicinal marijuana used in vaporizer form to be inhaled an exhaled.
Despite its past debates, a Friday night NBC Chicago News poll of its viewers shows an overwhelming acceptance of the proposed law.
Support of the law by the general population is key to getting the Governor’s signature.
Cancer patients and caregivers can be heard cheering the loudest as they would gain valuable options in treatment with the signing of the law.
Early research has shown medical cannabis to offer hope in providing a non-toxic alternative to chemotherapy as well as relieving pain associated with terminal cancers.
Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.
Cancer patients also cheer the pain killing properties that medical marijuana offers especially in cases of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage).
Other studies show promising results in nausea treatment as well as in improving the overall appetite of cancer patients, HIV patients, ALS sufferers, and others who suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses.
The bill brings hope of relief to Illinois residents who go to bed tonight suffering from a painful critical illness.
They hope Governor Quinn can hear their cheers all the way in Springfield as he debates signing this bill.
More information on the bill can be found here.