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WJBD - Local News - Illinois Senate Committee OKs Medical Marijuana

Illinois Senate Committee OKs Medical Marijuana

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois Senate committee has approved a proposal that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. 

The Senate Executive Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to send the measure to the full Senate. The proposal allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients who have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. The measure creates a pilot program that limits the frequency and amount of marijuana patients can buy.  Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without causing the harmful side effects of some prescription drugs. 

Medical marijuana consumers automatically consent to submit themselves to a sobriety field test should a police officer suspect they were driving under the influence of the drug.  However, lllinois law enforcement organizations say motorist safeguards in pending medical marijuana legislation are not strict enough.       

John Kennedy of Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police says police should be able to test blood and urine of motorists suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana.   The chiefs and the Illinois Sheriffs' Association say the legislation incorrectly states that federal officials have OK'd standard sobriety tests for cannabis influence. They say blood and urine tests are the only accurate measure.       

The groups hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday. The Associated Press was given a copy Wednesday in advance of its public release.   

The legislation is HB1.   More information is available online: http://www.ilga.gov

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