Lt. Governor Simon encourages Senate passage of tightly-regulated medical marijuana legislation


Says strong controls, restrictions provide necessary safeguards


SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced her support for House Bill 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) awaits a final vote in the Senate.

Simon, a former Jackson County prosecutor, noted that HB1 would establish the most restrictive medical marijuana program in the nation and takes best practices from the 18 other states that have enacted similar legislation in recent years.

“For many patients who are terminally ill, the prescription painkillers currently available do not alleviate their pain. I encourage the Senate to send House Bill 1 to the governor’s desk,” Simon said. “This legislation balances care for those who are suffering with the strong monitoring and regulations that are essential.”

The limited four-year pilot program already passed in the House where sponsor Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) spent years working to draft a bill that would include tight regulations and monitoring. Under HB 1:

* A physician must attest that the patient is suffering from one of 33 specified illnesses or conditions, such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and HIV, and would receive therapeutic benefit with treatment.

* Patients would undergo full background checks conducted by the Illinois State Police, which include finger printing of each patient and caregiver.

* Convicted felons, minors and non-Illinois residents would be prohibited from obtaining an ID card or participating in the program.

* The ID card would allow the patient, or licensed caregiver, to purchase a limited amount per month from one of up to 60 state-licensed dispensaries and grown in one of up to 22 cultivation centers located throughout the state.

* Sales would be tracked to ensure only qualified patients purchase their allowable amount at their designated dispensary.

* Refusing to submit to a field sobriety test would result in the automatic suspension of a license.

* Law enforcement officers would have the ability to investigate for illegal possession or DUI if any odor or other evidence is detected.

The Illinois State Police, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council and the Illinois State Attorneys’ Association have officially taken a neutral position on House Bill 1. The legislation passed the Senate Executive Committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.