According to the Huffington Post, the Illinois House is only one vote away from legalizing medical marijuana. What does this mean, exactly? Well, click through and I’ll get into the details.
It seems that members of the state legislature are a wee bit scared to vote for the measure.
A new report from WBBM shows how tantalizingly close the state truly is to passing the bill. It squeaked out of the Illinois Senate almost a year ago; now, Lang says, more than 90 of the 118 members of the House of Representatives have told him they support the bill. And “he has been promised a vote by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) if he can muster the needed votes,” the report reads.
The trouble for Lang is that private statements of support may not translate into votes. Nearly 40 of the representatives who support the bill in private say they fear the political fallout of casting an “aye” vote for it in the harsh light of day.
They realize it’s a touchy subject, but I could have told them that just by talking with my mothers family in Indiana. I joked about the marijuana blog I wrote for, and the majority of the dinner table laughed, and then nervously looked around to see who laughed. What’s a bigger issue for getting this passed is that it’s done relatively soon.
And the clock is ticking on passage of the bill. On January 12, 2011, a new General Assembly will be sworn in. If by that time the bill hasn’t passed the House, the Senate’s vote won’t matter any more; it will be back to square one.
The Chicago Reader‘s feature on the issue points out that medical marijuana has been technically legal in Illinois since 1978. But the law passed over 30 years ago, the Cannabis Control Act, required the Department of Human Services and the Illinois State Police to enact new policies on pot before it could be legally distributed. Neither agency has.
I find it stunning the Department of Human Services AND the Illinois State Police haven’t accomplished those policies. Keep an eye on Illinois, and if HMJ has any readers in the great state of Illinois, do what you can to pressure your scaredy-cat legislatures.
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