Lawmakers in the Illinois House Wednesday gave the greenlight to legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
The bill passed 61 to 57 and now goes to the Senate for a vote. Experts say it has a good chance of becoming law because the Senate has approved a similar proposal in the past.
The four year pilot program would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with serious illnesses like AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Doctors would be allowed to prescribe up to 2.5 ounces per patient every two weeks.
Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd says he has serious reservations about the plan.
“We’re seeing a ton of medical marijuana back here. It’s still against federal law, so the feds have got to take a stand”, Boyd said.
“You and your doctor, whatever help you need I’m all for that. I just think it’s failed in all the states that it started this way”, Boyd said. “I would be more apt to embrace it if the federal government embraced it,” he said.
Supporters say cannabis is a safer alternative to the pharmaceutical cocktail of pain killers often prescribed for serious and chronic illnesses.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it must still be signed by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he is “open-minded” on the issue.