Illinois on Thursday became the 20th state to legalize the medical use of marijuana.
“As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future’,” Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said in a statement after signing the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. “Over the years, I’ve been moved by the brave patients and veterans who are fighting terrible illnesses. They need and deserve pain relief.”
The new law will allow people suffering from 35 specific medical conditions to use marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Qualified patients will be able to obtain marijuana from one of up to 60 dispensaries, which would acquire marijuana from up to 22 cultivation centers. Patients will be able to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days.
“We applaud Gov. Quinn for his leadership in enacting this legislation that will help so many Illinoisans and their families,” said Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Nobody suffering from a serious illness should fear being arrested for using medical marijuana to treat their condition and improve their quality of life. Thanks to this legislation, they no longer will.”
Some medical marijuana advocates objected to the state’s monopoly on the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. Unlike many other states with medical marijuana laws, Illinois will not allow patients or caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana plants.