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Medical Marijuana Bill Signed into Law
Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law HB1, also known as the "Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act," today at a press conference at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.
"This is a very important day, I think, for healing in Illinois," Quinn said. "For helping people who are dealing with pain every day, oftentimes very severe pain, from diseases that are very, very challenging to any human being. And it's important that we do whatever we can to help ease their pain."
Quinn focused most of his remarks on the patients who will benefit from treatment with marijuana, but also on how well the bill was crafted by lawmakers.
"We made this the most controlled and highly regulated bill in the country, ever written," the law's chief sponsor, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang, said.
The law will allow 60 dispensaries around the state, which will by licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Public Regulation. 22 growers will be licensed, one per Illinois State Police district, overseen by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
"There will be security concerns," Bob Flider, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said. "There will be quantity and quality concerns. There will be chemistry concerns. There will be agronomy concerns."
How those concerns will be handled is still up in the air.
"We have a group of people within the agency working together to come up with some proposals for how we would do that," Flider said.
That proposal will then be presented to the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) after the law takes effect in January.
"And others who have an interest in those rules can comment, so it will be a completely open process as to how it takes place," Flider said.
A couple things to keep in mind with this law:
First, patients using medical marijuana will still be in violation of federal law, although the U.S. Department of Justice isn't currently prosecuting patients following state laws like this.
Second, this is a pilot program, and it will require another vote by lawmakers to make it permanent. Otherwise it will end after four years.
Reporting in Springfield, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.
For more information on the new law, click here.