TV Ad Campaign Boosts Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

With a Senate floor vote on medical marijuana legislation expected by the end of the month, supporters are airing a pair of TV commercials in which Illinois patients tell their stories.

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton)

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton)

The spots, introduced at a Springfield press conference today, have begun airing in Chicago, Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, and Champaign.

The ads feature Lucie Macfarlane of Joliet and Lisa Lange Van Camp of Lindenhurst both of whom are suffering from debilitating illnesses.

This legislation, Senate Bill 1381, sponsored by former three-term state’s attorney State Senators Bill Haine (D-Alton), Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), and Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston) would allow seriously ill patients with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana upon the recommendation of their physicians. The Senate Public Health Committee passed SB 1381 with a 6-2 vote.

The House Human Services Committee approved a companion bill — House Bill 2514 — on March 4. The House sponsors include, myself, Lou Lang, Angelo Saviano (R-Elmwood Park), Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood), Cythnthia Soto (D-Chicago), Deborah Mell (D-Chicago), and Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Chicago).

Both bills are now poised for a full vote on the floor of their respective chambers, but they do not yet have enough committed “yes” votes to be sent to the governor for approval. The House has never voted on a modern medical marijuana bill before, and a similar bill was narrowly defeated in the Senate two years ago.

Illinois could very well become the 14th state to enact an effective medical marijuana law. But Illinois residents need to speak up and contact their local legislators. More than 68% of Illinois voters support this legislation, according to a recent poll. Lawmakers need to hear their actual voices.

As chief sponsor of the House bill, I intend to continue to lobby my fellow lawmakers vigorously. Senator Haine will continue to push his fellow senators. But these legislators must also hear from their constituents for the final act of persuasion.

Privately, a majority of lawmakers say they favor the bill. Publicly, a majority will vote against the bill unless they hear from their constituents.

Lou Lang

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