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Will Illinois lawmakers legalize medical marijuana?

by Diana Zoga

Posted on November 17, 2010 at 11:08 PM

Lawmakers are deciding whether Illinois will become the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Arizona became the 15th state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes earlier this month.

Illinois lawmakers are in Springfield for a veto session. It's another chance to pass legislation before new members are sworn in at the start of the year.

SB 1381 is one of the bills up for discussion.

Track its progress here:

Read the bill:

The bill was written by state Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), a former prosecutor.

The law would allow patients with chronic pain to grow small amounts of marijuana plants - as long as a doctor recommends the treatment. Patients or their primary caregivers would have to register with the state and obtain an ID card from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Opponents have argued that legalizing medical marijuana would open the door to fraud and put marijuana in the hands of recreational users.

The measure cleared the Illinois Senate earlier this year. The Illinois House is debating the measure now.