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Illinois House Approves Marijuana Law

Medical marijuana took a significant step on April 17 toward becoming law in Illinois.  For the first time, it won approval in the House.

The vote was close (61-to-57), and lawmakers were vacillating until the last minute.

People who decided to support medical marijuana said they heard from constituents who told them it's the best way they've found to relieve their pain.

But others are worried about people abusing the system.

"If I vote no on this, I'm still a compassionate person,” said Representative Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica). “  I just can't get there on making marijuana legal." 

Supporters said the rules would be tight. For example, you can't just say you have a headache and go get high. Instead, you have to suffer from one of 33 conditions determined to be "debilitating," such as cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, or Multiple Sclerosis.

The proposal is a pilot project that would expire in four years.

The measure still needs Senate approval, but backers say they're optimistic about their chances.