Medical cannabis (marijuana) is still illegal in Illinois because HB 1 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. ICPA is an organization aimed at representing the interests of medical cannabis patients to Illinois lawmakers once the law has changed. Please donate to the Illinois chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (Illinois NORML) for all their hard work at legalizing medical marijuana in IL.
House Bills 29 and 30 have been introduced by Representative Lang. Please take a moment to contact the sponsors of our medical cannabis legislation and thank them, it is also helpful to ask what one can do to help them pass these bills.
HB 30 will have a Human Services Committee Hearing Feb 16 2011 8:30AM Stratton Building Room D-1 Springfield, IL If you are a patient or advocate of medical cannabis and can attend this hearing please let us know.
For those who cannot attend the committee hearing please write letters supporting medical cannabis in Illinois to the State Journal Register in Springfield, along with the Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Sun Times and USA Today.
Senate Bill 1381 was debated and voted on January 6, 2011 and November 30, 2010, yet it didn’t get enough votes either time. Below are some links to video from the Nov. 30, 2010 debate and vote, we hope to get the Jan. 6, 2011 debate video up soon. Please contact your State Representative and thank them for voting Yes or inquire as to why they voted No.
Our Youtube site has the full video of the Nov. 30, 2010 debate online now.
Medical Cannabis Patients & Advocates Return to the Capitol During the Veto Session to Push for Vote on Senate Bill 1381
Lawmakers will be returning to Springfield this week for the veto session. Medical cannabis patients and supporters once again will be in Springfield at the Capitol lobbying lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 1381. Please dress in a professional manner and be very courteous and respectful to everyone at the Capitol. This will NOT be a protest or a rally but an effort to convince lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 1381. Everyone will be required to go through security and a metal detector too.
For those who cannot make it to Springfield please call you State Representative everyday this week and politely and kindly tell them and/or their staffer to “Vote Yes on Senate Bill 1381.” By calling 217-782-2000 you’ll be connected to the Capitol switchboard and the operator will be able to connect you with your State Representative’s office in Springfield. The Illinois General Assembly website offers live streaming of floor debates and votes for legislation in House of Representatives and that would be the best way to stay up to date for when this bill will be called for a vote. If the bill is not called for a vote this week then the next chance will be November 29, 30 or December 1.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it will not prevent veterans from using cannabis in states with medical cannabis laws. Veterans had sought this policy clarification for several years.
The Veterans Health Directive offers guidance on the use and access to medical cannabis for veteran patients in the 14 states with medical cannabis programs. Although VA doctors still may not recommend cannabis for treatment (because it remains a Schedule 1 narcotic under federal law), patients under VA care will be able to receive other doctors’ recommendations for cannabis and continue with their VA healthcare. Previously, patients in medical cannabis states could have been refused pain medications if they were using cannabis for therapeutic purposes with the recommendation of a non-VA doctor.
Pain management appropriately is a high priority in the VA. In the past, veterans were subjected to repeated drug testing and were denied pain medication if they tested positive for cannabis. Now, with the VA’s support, veterans can work with their doctors to create a pain control program designed individually for each veteran. No longer will they be prosecuted or denied treatment based on cannabis use.
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Unfortunately, the Illinois legislature adjourned for the summer without calling Senate Bill 1381 for a vote. The next potential time for the Illinois House of Representatives to vote on this much needed legislation is November or January. However, the sponsor of the bill, State Representative Lou Lang has stated many times that he intends to call this bill for a vote when he knows that it has enough votes to pass. A few lawmakers in the weeks and days before the legislative session ended expressed their desires to see this bill pass but would not commit to voting yes on it. If we could have picked up these commitments then we might have been able to get the bill to Gov. Quinn’s desk. We could use more support and help in these lawmakers’ districts so if you or anyone you know lives in these areas please ask them to contact their State Representative about supporting SB 1381. The districts that we are working on include Arlington Heights, Dekalb, and Peoria. Also, please contact your State Representative and ask them why this bill was put on the back burner once again and why Illinois did not join the other 14 states in allowing medical cannabis.
May 5, 2010, Springfield, IL: State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) announced late Wednesday afternoon a breakthrough in the General Assembly’s attempt to enact a bill permitting physicians to recommend patients use medical cannabis to treat their illnesses.
Haine met with Captain Timothy Becker of the Illinois State Police earlier and Becker informed him that the Illinois Department of State Police had changed its position of opposition to Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The State Police are now neutral and will no longer oppose the passage of the bill which is on Third Reading in the House.
Lang said he “was extremely gratified by the Department’s change. We have crafted the most thoughtful, thorough and toughest bill in the nation. This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions,” he said.
Haine said he believed the Department changed its position after carefully reviewing the legislation and considering the safeguards it encompasses that are designed to protect patients, caregivers and the public.
Haine also noted that in a number of states, police organizations have removed their objections after a period of observing their laws in operation.
“As a former State’s Attorney, I have the greatest respect for the police organizations of our State and local governments. This change of position demonstrates what we have known all along, and that is that our State police organization is focused first and foremost on criminal activities as it relates to illegal substances,” Haine said.
“The State Police’s compassion for the seriously ill matches our own, Lang noted. No one should be denied medicine that might improve the quality of their life,” Lang concluded.
Illinois State Representatives are scheduled to meet next week, May 24-28, in Springfield to work on passing a budget for Illinois. It is up to us to tell them that they must not adjourn for the summer without protecting medical cannabis patients in Illinois. Please contact your State Representative in their district office and their Springfield office and urge them to pass Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act as soon as possible.