Thursday, August 25, 2005

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.


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