Medical marijuana bill fails state Senate

May 09, 2007

Amber Ellis, Daily Herald (IL)

PRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers rejected a proposal Thursday that would have legalized medical marijuana, snuffing the first attempt in nearly 30 years to allow a drug some say is their only relief from the painful symptoms of debilitating diseases.

The measure failed 22-29 in the state Senate with an overwhelming number of suburban legislators voting against it.

As proposed, anyone with cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or similar weakening conditions would have been able to use the drug. Caretakers could have access to it for their patients as well.

Julie Falco is one of those people. An MS survivor, she testified before lawmakers earlier this year, saying she mixes marijuana into her brownie batches to help subdue her pain. The Chicago resident and others swear by the drug, claiming it eases discomfort and boosts their appetite.

“I don’t think sick people should be treated like criminals,” said state Sen. John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat and sponsor of the plan.

Opponents worried that their support would signal they’re soft on crime.

State legislators approved a medical marijuana law in 1978, but it was halted amid political debates and other restrictions. Before Thursday, no other statewide action had been taken.

If Cullerton is able to garner the 30-vote minimum, he says he’ll re-introduce the issue before month’s end.

How your lawmakers voted

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate on Thursday rejected by a vote of 22-29, legislation that would have legalized marijuana for medical use.

• Suburban senators supporting legalized medical marijuana:

Don Harmon, Oak Park Democrat

Terry Link, Waukegan Democrat

Michael Noland, Elgin Democrat

• Suburban senators opposed to legalizing medical marijuana:

Pamela J. Althoff, McHenry Republican

Michael Bond, Grayslake Democrat

Kirk W. Dillard, Hinsdale Republican

Susan Garrett, Lake Forest Democrat

Randall M. Hultgren, Winfield Republican

Dan Kotowski, Park Ridge Democrat

Chris Lauzen, Aurora Republican

John J. Millner, St. Charles Republican

Matt Murphy, Palatine Republican

Carole Pankau, Roselle Republican

William E. Peterson, Long Grove Republican

Arthur “AJ” Wilhelmi, Joliet Democrat

• Not voting or voting “present”:

Dan Cronin, Elmhurst Republican

Linda Holmes, Aurora Democrat

Source: Senate roll call SB650



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