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August 1, 2013
August 1, 2013
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Illinois at a ceremony today in the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Care and Discovery.
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act will allow patients seeking relief from symptoms of 42 specific serious conditions or diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and AIDS to be prescribed a small amount of marijuana from one of 60 licensed state-regulated dispensaries. Illinois is now the 20th state in the country to allow the medical use of marijuana.
Under the new law, patients may be prescribed up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a two-week period, and they must have an established medical relationship with a licensed physician. The law, a four-year pilot program, takes effect on Jan. 1.
"This is really an important day, I think, for healing in Illinois, with people who are dealing with pain every day," Quinn said. "It's important to do whatever we can to help ease their pain."
Quinn was joined by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), along with Dr. LaMar Hansbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Manny Flores, secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, and many patients and advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.
Sharon O'Keefe, president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, welcomed the governor and other officials to the medical campus.
"This facility was designed to be a comforting place where patients can recover and heal. But patient care goes beyond a soothing setting, medical guidance, and clinical innovations," she said. "In some situations, when modern medicine cannot triumph over disease, our responsibility as medical professionals must include efforts to ease pain and suffering and to make a difficult time a little less challenging."
For more information on the new law, please visit the governor's official press site at illinois.gov.