Whether it’s Pure Politics, Common Sense or a Moral Epiphany…
Sometimes acquired knowledge is slow in coming, and fought off like a bad dream when it first arrives. Such is the case for Chicago’s, lieutenant-governor, Sheila Simon. While she now supports a newly authored medical marijuana bill up for consideration in the “Land of Lincoln,” that’s not always been the case for Ms. Simon.
You see, not so long ago, Chicago’s lieutenant governor was once a promising young, overly aggressive prosecutor. And as she explained on Sunday to the AP “as a former prosecutor my first reaction was, I’m not interested in changing our laws on medical marijuana.”
Since then, her understanding of “medical pot” has been more than slightly modified, new clarity has been attained. On May 8th, the lieutenant governor sat in on a rather informative hearing on medical marijuana held by the Senate Executive Committee. At this hearing she was able to listen to firsthand accounts from patients, as well as view mountains of scientific research regarding the benefits of medical marijuana. And after learning about the strict regulations which would cover any Illinois medical marijuana legislation -the Illinois Lieut. Gov. gave it two big ‘green thumbs up’!
The plan, touted as the strictest in the nation among states that have legalized medical marijuana, would authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with whom they have an existing relationship and who are living with at least one of more than 30 medical conditions, including cancer.
The proposal creates a framework for a pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks. It also sets a 2.5-ounce limit per patient per purchase and sets out state-regulated dispensaries.
Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without the detrimental side effects of prescription drugs. But opponents say the program could encourage recreational use, especially among teenagers.
The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association are opposed to the measure, saying there’s no sure way to figure out whether a motorist is driving under the influence of marijuana.
But Simon told the AP the bill is strict enough to prevent misuse.
“It does a good job of both getting medical marijuana to people who need and keeping it away from those who don’t,” she said.
Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has been noncommittal whether he would sign the bill, saying instead that he is open-minded to the idea.