Medical marijuana: Quad Citians speak out

The issue of medical marijuana is close to Diane Bennett’s heart.

In the past, her fiancé used it quite frequently.

“He used to smoke the marijuana and it helped him with his seizures but he passed away of a heart attack in January,” said Bennett.

Opponents don’t think Illinois Governor Pat Quinn should sign off on a bill that would legalize cannabis use for patients if they have one or more of 42 medical conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, HIV or cancer.

“I don’t believe in drugs at all like that,” said one man, who opposes its use.

Others against it say Illinois cannot regulate the production properly because of its inability to solve other state problems like pension reform and the budget crisis.

But, the movement is gathering steam.

Medical marijuana passed in both the house and the state senate.

18 states plus the District of Columbia allow its use.

“They’ve done lots of studies about people using hydrocodone and stuff like that and they’d say the majority of people who use stuff like that, when the pain is gone, they don’t use it anymore,” said Carol Lear, who supports its legalization.

If approved, patients would undergo fingerprinting and a criminal background check and would be banned from using marijuana in public and around minors.

There would be 60 dispensing centers across Illinois, with the state licensing 22 growers.

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