Illinois Senate passes medical marijuana bill — heads to governor's desk
Illinois passed a critical milestone to becoming the next medical marijuana state. On Friday, May 17, the Senate passed “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” with a vote of 35 to 21 in favor. A month earlier, the House approved the bill in a 61-57 vote. HB 1 now heads to the governor’s desk. Please call or email him to ask him to stand up for patients.
This legislative victory would not have been possible without the leadership of the bill’s sponsors — Sen. Bill Haine and Rep. Lou Lang — and all of the other legislators who voted for and spoke out for compassion. The effort has also received critical help from Reverend Al Sharp and Walter Boyd from Protestants for the Common Good, Doctors Christoff, Gezen, Walters, Millar, and the other 270 physicians who signed our statement of support, Julie Falco, Jim and Sandy Champion, and the dozens of other patients willing to share their stories, lobbyists Mike Pollak and Zale Glauberman for their tireless efforts, Dan and Ali at Illinois NORML, the Illinois State Bar Association, UFCW Local 881, the Illinois Nurses Association, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.Thank you all!
It’s time to make sure the governor hears from you! Please take a moment to contact Governor Quinn to express your support for the bill. If you or your loved one could benefit from medical marijuana, please include that in your message to the governor.
Finally, make sure you’re subscribed to our Illinois email alerts so we can keep you posted with timely updates and tips on getting involved.
Learn more about Illinois’s marijuana laws
Illinois' marijuana penalties (720 ILCS § 550) are surprisingly harsh, with penalties ranging from 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500 for possession of less than 2.5 grams (about one-tenth of an ounce) to one to three years in a state penitentiary and fines of up to $25,000 for possession of more than 30 grams.
There are exceptions though. Many cities give officers the option to cite offenders and punish possession of small amounts with a fine only. Last summer, Chicago joined that list when Mayor Emmanuel approved an ordinance allowing officers to cite those in possession of 15 grams or less. Violators in the Windy City face fines of $200-500.
You can learn more about marijuana laws in Illinois by reading this brief report from economist Jon Gettman, Ph.D.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. Please subscribe to our free legislative alert service to help make this the year Illinois finally shows it’s most vulnerable residents the compassion they deserve.