WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Medical Marijuana Bill Headed to Governor

May 17, 2013

The Illinois Senate approved legislation Friday that would legalize the medical use of marijuana. The vote was not close -- 35 senators voted “yes,” 21 cast “no” votes.

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), standing at right, debates medical marijuana in the Illinois Senate on Friday.
Credit Chris Slaby

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), who sponsored the measure, frequently reminds his colleagues he was once a prosecutor. He said the idea behind the bill is to help people in pain find relief.

“It is not about recreational drug use. It is not about using this substance to get 'high,' quote-unquote," Haine said.

But opponents such as Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) believe that will try to use the law just to get high.

"We're making a decision today to say in our communities that marijuana use is OK," McCarter said. 

Anyone wanting medical marijuana will have to prove they have one of several dozen listed conditions, such as cancer or HIV, or suffer from a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury.

The measure now goes to Governor Pat Quinn, who said he's "open minded" on the idea.