Johnsie Gooslin spent Jan. 16, 2015, tending his babies -- that's what
he called his marijuana plants.
More than 70 of them were growing in a hydroponic system of his own
Sometimes, he'd stay in his barn for 16 hours straight, perfecting his
That night, he left around 8 o'clock to head home. The moon was
waning, down to a sliver, which left the sky as dark as the ridges
that lined it. As he pulled away, the lights from his late-model Kia
swept across his childhood hollow and his parents' trailer, which
stood just up the road from the barn. He turned onto West Virginia
Route 65. Crossing Mingo County, he passed the Delbarton Mine, where
he had worked on and off for 14 years before his back gave out. Though
Johnsie was built like a linebacker, falling once from a coal truck
and twice from end loaders had taken a toll. At 36, his disks were a
mess, and sciatica sometimes shot pain to his knees.
[continues 4150 words]
Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph thought
getting high would help him feel better.
Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that made
him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went days
without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.
"I always thought (marijuana) would bring down my anxiety, but it just
made it that much worse," the Rockford-area man said.
One day, after getting so high that he was pacing around, alarmed by his
own gaunt appearance and generally "freaking out," Joseph was taken by his
brother to a Rosecrance drug treatment center in Rockford, where he
entered an inpatient program.
[continues 1228 words]
[photo] A medical marijuana dispensary is proposed for 1154 N. Main St. in
Algonquin officials are considering a medical marijuana company's proposal
to open a dispensary in a medical office complex.
ILDISP III LLC, represented by Ross Morreale, is seeking a special-use
permit for a free-standing building at 1154 N. Main St., out of which the
company would sell marijuana to patients with a prescription.
An attached garage would also be added onto the building, which formerly
housed an MRI center, as a secure area for deliveries and waste removal,
according to the proposal.
[continues 234 words]
With fewer than 4,000 approved patients, the nascent medical marijuana
business in Illinois is off to a slow start. Yet it hasn't kept away a
cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough
drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight the drug.
While neither state regulators nor the medical marijuana industry track
the number of employees who were former law enforcement officials, The
Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 in Illinois, many of whom
have outsized influence -- from a trustee of the state's chapter of the
Fraternal Order of Police to one-time undercover narcotics officers.
[continues 749 words]
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a
western Kansas woman against the state and several agencies after her son
was removed from her home in 2015 when he told school officials she used
Shona Banda, of Garden City, alleged in the lawsuit filed in March that
the defendants denied her civil rights by refusing to allow her to use
medical marijuana to treat her Crohn's disease, interfered with her
parenting and questioned her son without her permission. Medical marijuana
is not legal in Kansas.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten dismissed the lawsuit Tuesday,
agreeing with the defendants' contention that Banda had no right to use
marijuana and the agencies had some immunity.
Banda says she intends to pursue the case after she recovers from a recent
I've been thinking a lot lately about marijuana.
No, it's not what you suspect, I don't smoke the stuff.
Nor do I need it to alleviate pain. Rather, it's our country's
schizophrenic way of dealing with "weed." Here in Stephenson County is
In Grown Farms, which is perfectly legal and is growing marijuana
plants to be harvested, packaged and sold at marijuana dispensaries as
You need a doctor's prescription to get it. There hasn't been much
controversy about it. Indeed, folks are happy that a new business
decided to locate in the Freeport area. There's even talk -- perhaps
far-out talk, but still -- of mixing marijuana, legally, with snack
foods like pretzels or potato chips. Meanwhile, next door in Winnebago
County, the county sheriff's police raided two fields, one near
Durand, the other between Rockford and Winnebago, and found what they
said was $1 million worth of marijuana plants. These plants were
[continues 354 words]
Illinois Medical Marijuana Use Has Increased Under Strict Regulation
As Business Expands
In a warehouse in Joliet, hundreds of marijuana plants sway under
high-intensity lights, taking in carbon dioxide-rich air, sucking up
a constant feed of nutrients and bristling with buds.
Like Olympic athletes, the plants are rigorously trained and
intensively pampered. Tiny predator bugs patrol the surface of the
vegetation, hunting down any pests. Workers prune stems and leaves to
put all the plants' energy into buds that produce the drug's euphoric
and medicinal effects. The process churns out 200 pounds of
high-grade pot every month.
[continues 991 words]
Governor Signs Legislation to Issue Citations Instead of Time in Jail
SPRINGFIELD - Getting caught with small amounts of marijuana will
result in citations akin to a traffic ticket instead of the
possibility of jail time under legislation Republican Gov. Bruce
Rauner signed into law Friday.
Rauner's approval of the decriminalization measure comes after he
used his amendatory veto powers last year to rewrite similar
legislation he argued would have allowed people to carry too much pot
and fine violators too little.
[continues 878 words]
(AP) - Illinois' experiment with medical marijuana has earned a boost
thanks to Gov. Bruce Rauner's approval of legislation extending the
state pilot program for 2 1/2 years and including two more medical conditions.
On Friday, medical marijuana advocates and experts called it a
turning point that gives patients guaranteed access to the drug and
provides confidence to those selling and cultivating it in the state.
Rauner signed the measure Thursday night.
"It's a very good thing for us," said Charles Bachtell, founder and
CEO of Cresco Labs, which holds cultivation permits in Illinois.
"It's somewhat of an endorsement of the state saying, 'You're doing
the right thing. We like what we're seeing from the pilot program and
let's make some reasonable modifications.'"
[continues 425 words]
Illinois must add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of
diseases eligible for medical marijuana treatment, a Cook County
judge ordered Tuesday in a sternly worded ruling that also said the
state's public health director engaged in a "private investigation"
that was "constitutionally inappropriate."
In a lawsuit filed by an Iraq war veteran, Judge Neil Cohen ordered
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah to add PTSD
within 30 days. It's the first decision among eight lawsuits filed by
patients disappointed with across-the-board rejections by Gov. Bruce
Rauner's administration of recommendations from an advisory board on
[continues 386 words]
Terminal Illness Also Covered Under Bill for Rauner
Advocates for medical marijuana hope Illinois' plan to expand its
program will give the industry the boost it needs to sustain itself -
but some doctors warn that, despite changes made to protect them,
they still have legal and medical concerns about the product.
After previously rejecting efforts to make medical marijuana
available to more people, Gov. Bruce Rauner's office has indicated he
will sign into law a bill to lengthen the pilot program by more than
two years, to July 1, 2020. The legislation also adds two new
qualifying conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness.
[continues 1162 words]
For months, Illinois' fledgling medical cannabis industry had been
limping along - dogged by uncertainties over its future and hurt by
disappointingly low numbers of patients whose medical conditions
qualified them for state certification cards.
But in the last few days, the clouds of gloom have lifted thanks to a
compromise bill now awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature. The
measure would extend the state medical cannabis pilot program by 2 1/2
years, to July 1, 2020. It would also expand the list of qualifying
conditions, to include post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal
illnesses, potentially adding hundreds of thousands of new patients to
the state registry.
[continues 830 words]
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed a 2012 state ballot
initiative to allow the sale and use of marijuana for recreational
purposes. He told voters it might "increase the number of children
using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the
healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids
that drugs are OK." Spurning his advice, voters approved it.
So he might be excused if, four years later, he were tempted to gaze
upon the results of this experiment and say, "I told you so." In
fact, Hickenlooper has done just the opposite. "It's beginning to
look like it might work," he said recently.
[continues 639 words]
Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday decried the "proliferation" of pot use
and called on authorities to prosecute to the "fullest" extent of the
law a Webster man accused of being high in a crash that killed a
state trooper, sparking a renewed focus on the state's marijuana laws
amid a heated debate on legalization.
Police said David Njuguna was driving "impaired" after visiting a
medical marijuana dispensary in Brookline and had a half-burnt
marijuana cigarette in his car when he slammed into trooper Thomas L.
Clardy's SUV in mid-March, killing the veteran officer.
[continues 299 words]
Authorities Are Filing More Drug-Induced Homicide Charges, but
Complex Cases Show It's Hard to Decide Whether Offenders Deserve
Prison or Treatment
When police and paramedics arrived at her aunt's apartment in Carol
Stream, Adrianna Diana told them she and her friend Christopher
Houdek had cooked and shot up heroin the night before.
Diana, 20, said she awoke covered in vomit, with Houdek, 21, next to
her, unresponsive and "cool to the touch." Her aunt called 911.
Paramedics rushed Houdek to a hospital, where he died. The DuPage
County coroner ruled his 2013 death an accident by "heroin
intoxication." But prosecutors decided it was homicide- and charged
Diana and two heroin dealers.
[continues 1911 words]
Illinois has taken a go-slow approach to medical marijuana, limiting
risk by allowing the industry to operate as a pilot program until the
start of 2018. So far, so good: The highly regulated system, designed
to provide relief to patients suffering from 39 specific ailments,
such as cancer and Parkinson's, has operated smoothly since it
started last year.
Gov. Bruce Rauner, like his predecessor, Pat Quinn, hasn't rushed the
process. But a policy of prudence that doesn't evolve with the
evidence can wind up being overly cautious: Today some hurting
Illinois residents can't get the aid they seek because of Rauner's approach.
[continues 585 words]
Illinois lawmakers have a solid shot of passing a law to
decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana - and of
seeing Gov. Bruce Rauner actually sign that legislation.
Lawmakers last year sent Rauner a bill to make possession of up to 15
grams of pot a ticketable - rather than a criminal - offense, but
Rauner vetoed it, saying it would allow people to carry too much pot
and that stiffer fines than $55 to $125 were warranted.
A new version of that bill, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans
(D-Chicago), picks up language from Rauner's amendatory veto. It
would allow possessors of even less marijuana - 10 grams - to face
slightly larger fines of $100 to $200.
[continues 631 words]
Medical marijuana dispensaries would be permitted in a wider swath of
downtown Chicago thanks to a zoning change advanced Tuesday at the
behest of the City Council's most powerful alderman.
Ald. Edward Burke ( 14th) persuaded the City Council's Zoning
Committee to allow dispensaries in the zoning district known as the
Currently, there are four zoning districts in downtown Chicago:
residential; mixed-use; service; and the area known as the downtown
core. That last category includes office buildings, residential high-
rises, stores, theaters and government buildings.
[continues 446 words]
Burke Teams Up With Donor on Zoning Proposal
Medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed in the Loop under a
change to Chicago zoning regulations pitched by Ald. Ed Burke and a
campaign contributor he once helped nearly double his state pension
through a one-month sweetheart deal.
Former-state-lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Robert Molaro told the City
Council Zoning Committee on Tuesday about the roadblock that pot
dispensaries now face: They're technically allowed in some Loop
areas, but the potential sites are within 1,000 feet of a school or
day-care facility, and that rules them out under state law.
[continues 331 words]
The Chicago Sun- Times editorial ["Law needs to rein in government
seizures," April 19] supporting the reform of Illinois and federal
forfeiture laws regarding drugs and suspected drug proceeds was spot-
on correct, and former administrator of the U. S. Drug Enforcement
Administration Peter Bensinger's contrary opinion was dead wrong.
["Seize cartel assets best way to beat them," letter to the editor, April 22].
As the Chicago Sun- Times editorialized on June 22, 2010, "America's
War on Drugs is over - we lost - and it's time to get real about our
[continues 288 words]
SPRINGFIELD (AP) - Medical marijuana in Illinois would be required to
carry warning labels about possible side effects under a bill of a
Rep. Dwight Kay, of downstate Edwardsville, said the goal is to treat
medical marijuana like other prescription drugs that warn patients
about possible adverse effects. His bill, up for a House committee
vote Monday, doesn't specify what warnings should be on the products,
leaving it to the state health department to decide.
But Kay said he would like to see warnings about how marijuana can
cause drowsiness and impaired driving, and that it can affect pregnancies.
[continues 80 words]
Clinical Trial Shows Reduced Seizures in Children, Possibly
Increasing Chances of FDA Approval
A marijuana extract significantly reduced seizures in severely
epileptic children, according to a landmark study conducted in part
at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
Supporters said the results greatly improve the chances for the drug,
called Epidiolex, to win eventual approval by federal regulators for
prescription use to treat Dravet syndrome, a debilitating type of
epilepsy that strikes in early childhood. The drug would be the first
derived from the marijuana plant to win such approval.
[continues 1054 words]
But Opposition Fierce From Foes Including Law Enforcement Officials
SPRINGFIELD - Another attempt to decriminalize the possession of
small amounts of marijuana statewide is again in front of Illinois
lawmakers, but as before, the proposal faces strong opposition from
law enforcement and anti-pot advocates.
The omnibus bill in the Senate also sets a standard for what's
considered too high to drive and automatically purges municipal
citation records for possession annually, unless local governments
decide against it. Opponents of the legislation dislike both of those
provisions, too, saying there should be zero tolerance and that
expunging records will make it difficult to determine when someone
needs drug treatment.
[continues 468 words]
America's epidemic of heroin and prescription-pain-reliever addiction
has become a major issue in the 2016 election. The epidemic is worse
than ever: Deaths from overdoses of opioids - the drug category that
includes heroin and prescription analgesics such as Vicodin - reached
an all-time high in 2014, rising 14 percent in a single year. But
because drug policy has long been a political and cultural football,
myths about opioid addiction abound. Here are some of the most
dangerous - and how they do harm.
[continues 1540 words]
I am writing in response to the Feb. 19 article by Dean Olsen, titled
"Medical marijuana dispensary opens its doors for first time in Springfield."
Opening up a medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield is yet
another step in the right direction to make it more socially
acceptable and moving marijuana from the bad drug category into the
useful medical category. While the steps are very involved to get
accepted into the pilot program with fees and a lot of paperwork,
they are very much worth all the effort put forth once accepted. This
law will help many people in the state of Illinois who are interested
in trying out an alternative method to the constant pills and their
[continues 143 words]
The opening of the medical marijuana facility in Springfield is proof
positive that our state's political leaders are driven by money, not
facts. Marijuana continues to be a dangerous drug that has not been
proven to have medicinal effect on more than one or two relatively
rare conditions. National medical organizations continue to argue
strongly against its use as medicine.
It is certainly heartbreaking that many people experiencing serious
pain or other severe symptoms are seeking help from cannabis. The sad
truth is that marijuana might very well dull the discomfort, but at
what cost? Marijuana, as with all mood altering drugs, offers great
front-end promises, but then delivers rear-end tragedy. It would be
great if everyone who felt bad, either physically or emotionally
could be made to feel good with a drug. Every physician with a
conscience knows that, when possible, pain relief needs to result in
a productive human being. There is little to suggest that treatment
with cannabis will produce such results. The more marijuana is
promoted as a cure-all, the fewer contributing members of society
there will be.
[continues 52 words]
As a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor, I see
first-hand how the number of drug overdoses from abusing opioid pain
medications is at epidemic levels.
I believe medical cannabis can help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014
there were a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths that occurred in
the U.S., more than any other previous year on record. There has
never been a documented overdose death from cannabis.
In an October 2014 study in the American Medical Association's
Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers conclude that medical
cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level
opioid overdose rates. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8
percent lower average annual overdose rate compared to states without
medical cannabis laws.
[continues 136 words]
Petition Asks for More Illnesses on Approved List
Medical marijuana advocates are mounting a petition drive and social
media campaign to convince Gov. Bruce Rauner to greatly expand the
program in Illinois - but the governor hasn't yet given any
indication he would do so.
The campaign is driven in part by industry officials who fear their
businesses won't survive without more than the current 4,000 patients
statewide. Joining them are patients with a variety of medical
conditions, including chronic pain and common arthritis, who say they
need medical marijuana to relieve their symptoms without the side
effects of prescription drugs.
[continues 842 words]
I have been a practicing physician in the Chicagoland area for more
than 30 years with a specialty in pain medicine. A recent report from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention draws attention to the
fact that Illinois must allow patients the opportunity to choose
cannabis over highly addictive and sometimes deadly prescription drugs.
Opioids and narcotics remain the primary drugs for treating chronic
pain despite their dangerous side effects. According to the CDC, 44
people die each day from prescription drug painkiller overdose, and
health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers
in 2012. This epidemic is disproportionately affecting women, with a
more than 400 percent increase in painkiller overdose deaths since 1999.
[continues 170 words]
Medical cannabis has been available to Illinois patients for nearly
two months and we have already witnessed countless success stories
about how this natural remedy is helping people live an improved
quality of life. In many cases, this improvement comes after all
other treatment options have failed.
The medical cannabis industry has invested more than $250 million in
Illinois while training a new workforce, employing more than 500
people and becoming an economic engine for communities still reeling
from the recession. Local mayors who are happy to see residents back
to work, restaurants full and a renewed interest in real-estate
development support the program. Operating at about half-capacity,
the industry has the potential to change the landscape of Illinois.
[continues 314 words]
All across America last weekend, panicked drug users rushed to their
dealers to stock up on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine
for fear of running out. The arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman,
head of the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, was sure to cause a sudden
shortage of illegal substances in this country.
That's right. And I'm Queen Latifah. In reality, the capture of the
narcotics kingpin is likely to have about as much impact on drug
supplies as Martian solar storms do. You wouldn't expect long lines
at the gas pump if the CEO of Exxon Mobil were suddenly unavailable
because the company, its retailers and its suppliers would go on functioning.
[continues 630 words]
To the Editor:
I am glad that The Southern gave a "thumbs up" to the cannabis
decriminalization bill being reintroduced in Springfield. How long
until we end another failed prohibition completely? Keeping a plant
illegal seems silly when there are plenty of other crimes that go
unsolved every year. However it is easier for police to catch some
college kids getting high than it is for them to solve a cold case
murder or a rape.
The medical cannabis program has shown that there are investors and
businesses willing to open up in parts of central and southern
Illinois at a time when other businesses are shutting down or leaving
the state. Colorado had to issue a tax refund to its citizens due to
amount of taxes that were paid from the legal cannabis industry, both
medical and recreational. Personally I would put Illinois farmers
above Colorado farmers when it comes to growing cannabis, if only
Illinois farmers had the chance. Those who were lucky enough to get a
cultivation license to grow medical cannabis in Illinois needed large
amounts financial capital and experience, something Illinois farmers
just could not admit to when competing against the west coast
gardeners. Illinois should legalize cannabis for all adults, not just
those who are sick.
Dan Linn is executive director, Illinois for the National
Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws
'Who Better Would You Want to Oversee Your Compliance Than a Cop?'
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) - With fewer than 4,000 approved patients,
the nascent medical-marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow
start. Yet it hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who
once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison
sentences to fight pot. STEVE NAGY / BELLEVILLE NEWS-DEMOCRAT Scott
Abbott, a retired Illinois State Police colonel, speaks with Mark
Lewis, left, and Jeff Greer in September at the new medical-marijuana
dispensary being built in Collinsville, Ill.
[continues 807 words]
The article, "Few Q-C residents OK'd for medical marijuana,"
highlights how health care organizations are prohibiting physicians
from participating in the medical cannabis program and draws
attention to a disturbing trend putting politics before patients.
We are hearing stories from patients on how medical cannabis has
changed their lives. Cannabis stimulates appetite and reduces nausea
for cancer patients. It relieves rheumatoid arthritis pain and allows
people to become active members of their families. It helps people
live an improved quality of life and with edibles coming to market,
even more will benefit from a variety of delivery methods to minimize
and in many cases eliminate their symptoms.
[continues 168 words]
CHICAGO - Patients bought $210,000 of medical marijuana in the first
week it was legal in Illinois, marking what patients and industry
officials said was a welcome, if overdue, start.
"By and large, things have gone well," said Joseph Wright, director
of the Illinois medical marijuana pilot program.
More than 800 patients have bought 13,000 grams of cannabis since the
state's first dispensaries opened Nov. 9. That's about half an ounce
per customer, at an average price of $16 per gram, or about $450 per ounce.
[continues 246 words]
To the Editor:
My son, Ethan, has autism.
I am learning more on this parenting journey than I ever expected to learn.
Honestly, I really don't want to learn about the side effects of
Risperdal or Zyprexa. I don't want to have a reason to know them. I
don't want others to treat my sweet boy with any less dignity than he deserves.
The grip of autism is not selective. This child is only trying to
make sense of his world and his emotional kaleidoscope. I want him to
be able to cross the train tracks without being gripped by fear and
to enjoy the Christmas lights with the rest of us. I want him to know
that he is a treasure, every single day.
[continues 289 words]
Small Percentage of Patients May Be at Risk, Experts Say
Depressed, withdrawn and coping with a death in the family, Joseph
thought getting high would help him feel better.
Instead, he said, his marijuana smoking grew into a daily habit that
made him paranoid and constantly question how others saw him. He went
days without going home, showering or eating much besides potato chips.
"I always thought (marijuana) would bring down my anxiety, but it
just made it that much worse," the Rockford-area man said.
[continues 1251 words]
I'd like to respond to Ms. Fay's letter warning Illinois residents
about medical cannabis becoming available in Illinois.
It is unfortunate that Calvina Fay chose to fear-monger about medical
cannabis ["Medical marijuana causes host of problems," Counterpoint,
Tuesday] when surely she is aware of the prescription pain pills that
are leading to an epidemic of opioid addiction and fatalities.
Cannabis has neither the same addictive properties as those opioids
nor the potential for an overdose fatality and by any objective
account is much safer than many prescription pills.
[continues 203 words]
As medical marijuana becomes a reality in Illinois, residents should
brace themselves to the problems seen in other states. Already, as
reported last month, the marijuana industry is ignoring bans on
advertising and launching a million-dollar marketing campaign to boost sales.
Advertising highly potent edible products, such as cookies and candy,
that are appealing to youth sends the wrong message and leads young
people to believe marijuana is harmless. The medical marijuana
cottage industry lacks consumer safety protocols and has led to an
increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits in other states.
[continues 225 words]
The political dysfunction in Springfield that has made it impossible
to do something as basic as pass a state budget threatens to
eviscerate an important pilot program for medical marijuana-even as
potential patients continue to get in line.
But this is one logjam that could be broken quickly, and it should be.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration and the Legislature have shown a
good-faith willingness to actually talk to each other about this one
- - rare itself these days. For the sake of severely ill people
suffering from chronic pain, we urge the governor and Legislature to
keep on talking and reach a deal. They might even learn a thing or
two about how to bridge the chasm, by giving and getting, on other
more difficult issues.
[continues 302 words]
Advocates, With Cash in Hand, Await the Backing of at Least One Candidate
Hillary Rodham Clinton says she has never smoked pot, not even as a
bell-bottom-wearing undergraduate in the 1960s. Her husband's
administration went nuclear in the war on drugs. During her 2008
campaign, she publicly opposed marijuana legalization.
But it's now seven years later, and the marijuana industry is a $2.7
billion business - the fastest-growing in the United States - and one
that operates without any legal sanctions in four states, is
decriminalized in16 others and is permitted for medical use in a few more.
[continues 2013 words]
Hank Kovach's experience mirrors the recent success stories of other
children with drug-resistant epilepsy.
Wracked by frequent, daily seizures that delayed his brain
development, the 7-year-old Chicago boy was unable to speak, learn
much or even sleep without waking up in tears after an hour or two.
Conventional drugs didn't help much.
But after he began using a marijuana extract last year, his parents
said, they were astounded when Hank went six months without a
seizure. He began uttering sounds, learning numbers and colors, and,
for the first time, sleeping through the night.
[continues 817 words]
Governor Rewrites Measure, Which Now Returns to Lawmakers
SPRINGFIELD - Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday used his veto
powers to rewrite a bill aimed at decriminalizing possession of small
amounts of marijuana, saying the measure that lawmakers sent him
would let people carry too much pot and sets fines too low.
Rauner said while he supports the "fundamental purposes" of keeping
people out of jail and cutting court costs, such a significant change
in drug laws "must be made carefully and incrementally." Sponsors of
the bill pushed back, saying the changes are "low-hanging fruit" when
it comes to reforming the criminal justice system and contending the
governor is working against his own goal of reducing the number of
[continues 778 words]
While the Chicago Sun-Times' Editorial Board begins commendably
enough Thursday by asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the extension for
the medical cannabis pilot program, it then asks people who suffer
from posttraumatic stress disorder to wait an indefinite period of
time for relief from addiction and overdosing on opioid pain killers,
which are the staples of most regimens of current treatments for PTSD.
While the Editorial Board gave some credence to the realities of
PTSD, it is not possible to say PTSD exists and then ask people to
wait for non-opioid relief for it unless there's doubt that PTSD is a
[continues 175 words]
With every day that passes, it becomes more important that Gov. Bruce
Rauner sign a bill resetting the start date of Illinois' medical
marijuana pilot program. At the same time, if only to protect popular
support for the pilot program, the governor has good reason to veto,
for now, a companion bill that would add to the list of conditions
for which medical pot can be subscribed.
The pilot program was expected to run for about four years, enough
time to evaluate whether it helps people who are ill without creating
unexpected problems. But due to a number of delays, the program has
yet to start, and it is scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2018. The bill on
Rauner's desk would reset the start date, allowing the pilot program
to get its full run.
[continues 316 words]
A state lawmaker opposed to legalizing marijuana vowed to fight
pro-pot ballot initiatives expected to be filed today, saying she'll
join others taking on state Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg,
who backs legalizing pot and already has an advance copy of one of
"We all see what opioids do. I don't think we should be adding fuel
to the already raging drug issues in Massachusetts," said state Rep.
Colleen M. Garry (D-Dracut), who joins high-profile pols such as Gov.
Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Hub Mayor Martin J.
Walsh in opposing marijuana legalization.
[continues 278 words]
If you want a bottle of booze in downstate Albion, you have to drive
out of town.
But the Edwards County town of less than 2,000 residents is the site
of a huge medical marijuana farm.
The seemingly contradictory situation has led some in town to declare
Albion "high and dry."
And a local shop has sold dozens of T- shirts with the pithy phrase.
"The high is we're growing marijuana here in Albion," Ald. Arrol
Stewart said with a laugh. "The dry is two of the convenience stores
have applied for a package liquor license, and they were turned down.
The city council voted against it."
[continues 352 words]
If Mike Bonds had avoided misdemeanor convictions for possession of
small amounts of marijuana more than 15 years ago, he believes he
might have been able to enlist in the U.S. Navy.
The trajectory of his life - which includes a 2000 felony conviction
in Piatt County for marijuana possession - might have been altered,
said Bonds, who now operates a gutter installation business.
That's why Bonds, 36, who lives in rural Mansfield, about 65 miles
northeast of Springfield, supports a bill on Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk
that would decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis.
[continues 2397 words]
To the Editor:
I am writing on behalf of the epilepsy community in response to the
editorial "Medical marijuana program slow to unfold."
The Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago was heavily involved in
passing a recent amendment to the Illinois Compassionate Use of
Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, adding epilepsy as a debilitating
condition, and it is committed to the success of this program,
ensuring it is safe and accessible for all patients.
There are 3 million Americans living with epilepsy, and more than
130,000 in the Chicago area. Epilepsy is a neurological condition
that produces reoccurring seizures, and, in the case of about
one-third of those people with epilepsy, their seizures are
uncontrolled by conventional treatments. Many individuals, including
children with epilepsy, have experienced remarkable results using a
form of medicinal cannabis called cannabidiol. Despite the fact that
the program was launched Aug. 1, 2013, no one has received treatment.
[continues 118 words]
State's Path Similar to Others That OK'd Recreational Use
Recent victories at the state Capitol are giving marijuana advocates
hope that their ultimate goal - to legalize pot in Illinois - may be
closer to reality.
With a medical pot program underway and lawmakers voting last month
to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of the drug,
Illinois is following a path that three other states have taken
toward legalization. Alaska, Colorado and Oregon rolled out medical
marijuana and loosened pot penalties before approving the drug for
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