Pubdate: Sat, 08 Jun 2013
Source: Rockford Register Star (IL)
Copyright: 2013 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Jim Champion


On behalf of many Illinoisans suffering from terminal illnesses, 
debilitating medical conditions and incapacitating pain, I ask 
Governor Quinn to sign HB 1, the Compassionate Use of Medical 
Cannabis Pilot Program Act, into law.

I'm a disabled veteran of the U.S. Army. My multiple sclerosis 
dictates that I'm wheelchair-bound for the remainder of my life. My 
symptoms include severe muscle spasms, fatigue and prolonged bouts of 
extreme pain. My spasms force my legs to lock together and my hands 
to cramp up.

Despite taking 59 pills a day, no amount of medication helped. But 
cannabis reduced my medication intake to 25 pills a day while 
enabling me to separate my arms and legs, undergo physical therapy 
and, most importantly, get out of the bed and enjoy my life.

Unlike many harmful prescription drugs, cannabis is natural and 
nonaddictive. With strong safeguards to restrict access, HB 1 
prevents medical marijuana from recreational and illicit use and 
ensures that only qualified patients can obtain it. HB 1 also allows 
patients and caregivers-like my wife, Sandy-safe access instead of 
going to the streets and risking harm or arrest.

Some believe HB 1 sends the wrong message to our young people. But 
Sandy and I raised two boys as successful adults who value compassion 
for those who are sick. They now spend quality time with their father 
instead of watching me suffer helplessly.

Signing HB 1 would serve as a godsend to patients like myself and 
many others who desperately need it to become law.

- - Jim Champion, Somonauk
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