compassionate use of medical cannabis

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Illinois: Medical Marijuana In Limbo As Hostile GOP Governor Takes Office

IllinoisMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois patients who are still waiting for safe access to medical marijuana were once again left disappointed on Monday when outgoing Democratic Governor Pat Quinn not only failed to award licenses to growers and dispensaries before leaving office, but actually tightened the state's already strict medical marijuana laws in one of his final acts in office.

"I was livid," said state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who originally sponsored Illinois' medical marijuana law, reports Kim Bellware at The Huffington Post. "I think the governor made a serious and grievous mistake today."

Patient advocates had hoped Quinn would get the program off the ground by issuing licenses before incoming Republican Governor Bruce Rauner -- who ridiculed the medical marijuana program during his election campaign -- was sworn in on Monday. While medicinal cannabis has been legal for more than a year now in Illinois, the state violated its own deadline at the end of 2014 to issue licenses.

Patients have yet to benefit from the law.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Rally Held At State Capitol

CampaignForCompassion

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dozens of medical marijuana supporters on Monday converged on the Pennsylvania's State Capitol as lawmakers returned from their summer recess.

Parents of ailing children and patients with serious medical conditions spoke at the rally about the need for safe access to cannabis, reports the Associated Press. Many in the crowd held up signs with slogans like "Pills Kill" and "Campaign 4 Compassion."

The demonstration was in support of Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis act, whose prime sponsors Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) expect to be sent from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the floor of the state Senate next week.

"We are so close," Sen. Leach said, reports Kendra Nichols at ABC 27. "We are closer than we have ever been. If this runs in the Senate, we get more than 40 votes, and we are promised it will run next week in the Senate."

"We have counted in the House," Leach said. "There are 203 members. We have counted about 160 yes votes." However, Leach added, there is concern that the House "leadership" may block the bill from ever reaching the floor for a vote.

Illinois: Widow Who Pushed For Medical Marijuana Not Allowed To Use It Under New Law

ILGovPatQuinnAndMichelleDiGiacomo

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michelle DiGiacomo of Chicago won't be allowed to use medical marijuana under the new law in Illinois -- because she used medical marijuana before the law passed.

When police stormed DiGiacomo's North Side Chicago apartment last year, she had known the day could come, since marijuana was still illegal in Illinois even for medical reasons. But she was still unprepared.

"I was about to experience the worst 28 hours of my life," said DiGiacomo, 53, who runs Direct Effect Charities, which serves needy Chicago Public Schools kids, reports Maudlyne Ihejirika at the Chicago Sun-Times. "We had discussed this possibility in the past; one I had hoped would never come to be."

The widowed mother had used marijuana for the past five years to control the pain of fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis and rotator cuff disease. Pharmaceuticals had resulted in adverse reactions, or had failed to provide relief.

After he September 13, 2012 arrest, she pleaded guilty on March 5 to Class 4 felony possession of marijuana, just five months before Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state's medical marijuana bill into law.

Now she's not allowed to take part in the program, because under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, a felony conviction disqualifies her from accessing medical marijuana. Advocates say the story highlights the new law's shortcomings.

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