Illinois House Approves Legalization of Medical Marijuana; Legislation Moves to State Senate

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The Illinois House has approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Lawmakers voted 61-57 Wednesday to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with specific terminal illnesses or debilitating medical conditions.

The legislation goes to the state Senate, where a similar version was approved in 2009. Senate President John Cullerton's spokeswoman said this week he supports the legislation.

The measure gives a framework for a four-year pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks. The legislation sets a 2.5 ounce limit per patient per purchase.

Supporters say marijuana can relieve continual pain without triggering the harmful effects of other prescription drugs. Opponents say the program would encourage the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Gov. Pat Quinn hasn't said whether he would sign the measure.


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