Ill. Lawmakers Defeat Medical Marijuana Bill
Hearings that featured testimony from the U.S. drug czar and the detention of one presenter for possession of marijuana led Illinois lawmakers to vote down a state medical-marijuana bill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Feb. 18.
The Illinois House Human Services Committee voted 7-4 against endorsing the bill, despite testimony from supporters like Irvin Rosenfeld of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., one of a handful of Americans grandfathered into a short-lived federal program to provide medical marijuana to patients. During his testimony, Rosenfeld showed committee members his federally issued marijuana cigarettes; afterwards, court officers detained him until they checked out his story.
"This is a clear example of why we need this legislation," said state Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago).
"Here I am a legal patient and look at the hassles I just went through," Rosenfeld told reporters later. "What if I wasn't a legal patient and had a crippling disorder and was being made a criminal to get the medicine I need?"
But federal drug czar John Walters and other medical-marijuana opponents said there is no evidence that marijuana is effective as medicine, with Walters calling marijuana a "gateway drug" to other kinds of drug abuse.