Illinois Update: General Assembly Votes to Qualify Seizure Patients for MMJ

 

As the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session drew to a close last week, its members passed a small, but not insignificant amendment tolastyear’s HB 0001 (a/k/a the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act). Senate Bill 2636 makes two important changes: it adds seizure conditions (epilepsy) to the list of “debilitating medical conditions” that qualify a patient for an Illinois medical cannabis card, and it authorizes minors to use medical cannabis for those same seizure conditions.

We think SB 2636 is a positive development for several reasons. One, it shows that the legislative process is working. Constituents spoke up about the Act’s shortcomings (no coverage for seizure sufferers) and representatives listened. Two, SB 2636’s wide margin of passage. HB 0001 eked by, winning 35-21 in the senate but only 61-57 in the house. But one year later, SB 2636 passed 54-2 in the senate and 98-18 in the house. Either the legislature is starting to warm up to the idea of medical marijuana, or they figure that if Illinois is going to test its MMJ pilot program, it might as well do so on a wider scale. In any event, the votes signify progress. Finally, SB 2636 will bring more relief to more people, and that’s always a very good thing.

Governor Quinn has 60 days to sign. It is widely expected he will do so.