Chicago Tribune, State Journal-Register, Rockford Register Star Endorse Lou Lang’s Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

(Chicago, IL) — May 5, 2011. In the past few days, Illinois’ leading newspapers have endorsed Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang‘s bill to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois.

Lang, a Democrat from suburban Skokie, has also won support for the measure from House GOP Leader Tom Cross (R-Owego), giving the legislation an important boost in the lower chamber.

The bill likely faces a vote today, according to Lang.

Here are the editorials:

Chicago Tribune

Therapeutic pot

The Illinois legislature is close to legalizing medical marijuana. Before you scream in protest, or launch into a Cheech and Chong joke, give this some consideration. Illinois could pass a model law for the rest of the country.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis act, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), could pass the House this week, thanks in large part to a change in position by House Republican leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego). The timing may finally be right.

The Senate approved a medical marijuana bill in 2009, but the House narrowly rejected it last January. A revised bill has gained the support of Cross, a former Kendall County prosecutor. He says he’s comfortable with the strict guidelines written into this version.

Read more …

Rockford Register Star

Our View: Legislators should vote yes on improved medical pot bill

Illinois lawmakers have crafted a medical marijuana bill that is precise, restrictive and should alleviate concerns of those who worry the drug will fall into the wrong hands.

House Bill 30, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, may succeed where other legislation has failed.

Members of the Illinois House are expected to vote on the bill this week. We have supported previous incarnations of this legislation and think this one is the best yet. We hope representatives agree and vote yes.

HB 30 restricts who, how much and where patients can get medical marijuana. It would only be available for people who have debilitating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis and they must have a doctor’s prescription. Prescriptions would need to be renewed every two weeks, and the amount of the drug would be limited to 2.5 ounces.

Read more …

State Journal-Register

Our Opinion: OK revised medical marijuana legislation

Supporters of medical marijuana in Illinois got a big boost recently when House Minority Leader Tom Cross came over to their side.

Cross, R-Oswego, was among the 60 representatives on Jan. 6 who helped defeat the last medical marijuana bill, which fell just four votes shy of passage. He says he’ll support a new version of that bill.

We urge Cross’ House colleagues to do the same.

Why the change for Cross? For one thing, the new bill is more restrictive than its predecessor. But Cross also listened to people like Diane Harper of Shorewood, whose husband, Jeff, suffers from lymphoma and found relief from chronic nausea only from smoking marijuana. Jeff’s weight had fallen from 170 pounds to 111 when he began using marijuana to quell nausea. Now he’s up to 149.

“Do you know how sickening it is to tell your kids something they’re not supposed to do is necessary to keep their dad alive?

Read more …

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Channel 17 NBC TV in Decatur Features Illinois Medical Marijuana Legislation

(Springfield, IL) – April 4, 2011. Channel 17 WAND/NBC TV in Decatur, which also covers Springfield and Champaign, has produced a feature on House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang‘s legislation that permit the use of medical marijuana in Illinois for individuals who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

The Illinois House Human Services Committee has already approved the legislation, House Bill 30, by a 6-5 vote, to allow patients to posses 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for a 14-day period in which the need has been certified, in many cases, by two, separate doctors.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, and I know a majority of lawmakers recognize the underlying medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said Lang.

The bill now faces consideration by the full House.

Watch the broadcast here …

House Committee Approves Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill

(Springfield, IL) – March 9, 2011. An Illinois House panel today voted to approve the use of medical marijuana for individuals who suffer from chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and cancer.

The Illinois House Human Services Committee voted 6-5 on the legislation, House Bill 30, to allow patients to posses 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for a 14-day period in which the need has been certified, in many cases, by two, separate doctors.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, and I know a majority of lawmakers recognize the underlying medical benefits of medical marijuana,” said State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), the measure’s chief sponsor.

“My goal is persuade a majority of lawmakers to vote their knowledge and their conscience.”

Under the proposed three-year pilot project, the Illinois Department of Public Health would administer the program and would identity cards to patients with debilitating medical conditions to allow them to purchase medical marijuana at registered, non-profit medical cannabis organizations.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would consider signing the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Under Lang’s legislation, a patient would have to submit to the Illinois Department of Public Health a physician’s written certification that the patient would be likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from cannabis and that the patient has a qualifying medical conditions, such as: alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, epilepsy, etc.

A CBS-TV nationwide poll, conducted January 27-30, 2011, found that an overwhelming of Americans, 77%, back the use of medical marijuana. The poll breaks down support by age group:

  • 86% – 18-29
  • 74% – 30-44
  • 82% – 45-64
  • 63% – 65+

Lang said. “No one should be denied a health care treatment that might improve their quality of life.”

Other House sponsors include State Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago).

Chicago Sun-Times Backs Rep. Lou Lang’s Bill to Legalize Illinois Medical Marijuana

(Chicago, IL) — The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board on Tuesday rolled out its backing of legislation, House Bill 2514, sponsored by House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie), to legalize medical marijuana in Illinois.

We agree with those who say the pot should be used for medical purposes by people living in great physical pain.

But, of course, Illinois continues to prohibit the use of marijuana for medical purposes — even as 14 other states have seen the light.

Illinois Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is pushing a medical pot bill, one with strict limits, that deserves support across the political spectrum.

Read more …

Haine, Lang Announce Illinois State Police Reverse Opposition to Illinois Medical Marijuana Legislation

State Senator William Haine

(Springfield, IL) – May 5, 2010.  State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) and House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) yesterday announced the Illinois State Police are no longer opposed to medical marijuana use in Illinois.

Lang and Haine met with Captain Timothy Becker of the Illinois State Police earlier and Becker informed the lawmakers that the Illinois Department of State Police had changed its position on Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, from opposition to neutrality.

“I am extremely pleased by Illinois State Police’s decision, because it improves the probability of the bill’s approval,” said Lang.

“This legislation is intended to alleviate pain in people suffering debilitating medical conditions and the Illinois State Police recognize that,” he said.

Haine said he believed the Department changed its position after carefully reviewing the legislation and recognizing the safeguards will 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 said. “No one should be denied medicine that might improve their life’s quality.”

In addition to Haine, Senate sponsors include: Iris Martinez (D), Jeff Schoenberg (D), Donne Trotter (D), Kwame Raoul (D), Linda Holmes (D), and Ira Silverstein (D).

Other House sponsors include: Angelo  “Skip” Saviano (R), John Fritchey (D), Karen Yarbrough (D), Ken Dunkin (D), Greg Harris (D), Cynthia Soto (D), Robyn Gabel (D), and Camille Lilly (D).

Rep. Lou Lang Pushes Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill; Chicago Reader Runs Front Page Story

(Chicago, IL) — April 9, 2010. House Deputy Majority Lou Lang‘s effort to bring Illinois medical marijuana legislation across the finish line this year drew front page attention from the Chicago Reader this week.

The Reader‘s Claire Thompson writes:

Now the bill, HB2514, has to pass the house, where it’s sponsored by Skokie Democrat Lou Lang. Lang, who also sponsored the first gay-rights bill to make it out of that chamber, has supported past proposals to permit the use of medical marijuana in Illinois—all of which have failed. But he didn’t sign on as a sponsor until last year, when the medical-marijuana lobby asked him to. Now, he says, “I’m locked at the hip with this bill.”

Lang says he’s talked about it with each of the other 117 representatives. “Ninety-two of them have looked me in the eye and said, ‘This is a great bill. I hope you pass it.'” he says. “But only 52 have said they’ll vote for it. They come up with all kinds of excuses. When you have elected officials who choose to vote against their own conscience for political reasons, that’s a recipe for bad politics.”

Read the rest of Thompson’s story on the Illinois medical marijuana bill saga here …

Lang Hopefull on Illinois Medical Marijuana Approval

(Springfield, IL) — The Illinois medical marijuana bill did not come to a vote in the Illinois House before Illinois General Assembly’s spring legislative deadline expired on May 31, but House sponsor State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) remains hopeful.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1381, passed both the Senate 30-28 and the House Human Services Committee 4-3

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), left, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), left, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

last week, but still lacked enough votes in the full House.

“Although (the) top priority was the tax bill, I think the time has come for Illinois to enact a medical marijuana law. We just need to shore up a few votes before calling this bill to the floor,” said Lang, a Deputy Majority Leader and chief House sponsor of the plan.

State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“It was dramatic that the bill got out of the Senate,” Haine said in an interview with the Alton Telegraph. “We had a busy spring. This bill was one of hundreds. It had one of the highest profiles because it surrounded the whole debate on drugs and marijuana and came with a lot of baggage.”

Lawmakers retun to Springfield for the veto session in the fall.

Other legislative sponsors:

State Senators: Iris Martinez, Jeff Schoenberg, Donne Trotter, Kwame Raoul and Linda Holmes.

State Representatives: Angelo Saviano, John Fritchey, and Karen Yarbrough.