Illinois’s General Assembly reconvenes
Last update: January 17, 2017
Lawmakers have officially reconvened in Springfield for the 2017 legislative session, and while there were significant advances in marijuana law and policy last year, there is plenty of room for improvement.
In 2016, the state decriminalized marijuana possession of up to 10 grams, and today, those found in possession now simply face a modest fine, rather than arrest, jail, a much larger fine, and a lifetime record.
But much work lies ahead. It is still illegal for most responsible adults 21 and over to possess marijuana anywhere in the state, even though a majority of voters in the U.S. now support legalization. Underground markets still profit from illegal drug trade, while other states earn hundreds of millions in tax revenue from lawful businesses. We hope lawmakers will take a closer look at legalization, particularly as more and more states end marijuana prohibition.
Challenges continue in medical cannabis program
The state’s medical cannabis program also improved last year when it was extended until at least July 2020, and both PTSD and terminal illness were added as qualifying medical conditions. But the state’s medical cannabis program also needs further improvement. Its failure to include severe or persistent pain as a qualifying medical condition leaves behind a huge number of seriously ill patients who would otherwise benefit. Many who should have more options have no choice but to turn to dangerous narcotic medications. We hope lawmakers will consider what an impact medical cannabis can have for those who live in pain.
For more information on how to register as a patient, or to see announcements from state program officials, follow this link.
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