Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Medical marijuana bill fails in Illinois House

From The Post-Dispatch on Nov. 30:

UPDATE 1:20 p.m. -- Montel Williams (pictured), the former talk-show host, just did a standup with reporters in the Capitol to chide opponents of the bill for spreading ``false information.''

Williams was diagnosed 10 years ago with multiple sclerosis, and he has since become a traveling advocate for legalizing medical marijuana, which he says alleviates his pain and tremors from the condition. He lives in New York, where medical marijuana isn't legal, either. (Where he gets and uses it there ``is my business,'' he said, when reporters asked.)

Williams was in Springfield to lobby lawmakers for passage of the bill, and was clearly disappointed at its failure. He attributed it to ``a misinformation campaign steeped in flagrant lies'' on the issue, including (he said) the assertion that it's a ``gateway drug'' to harder drugs. He noted it's not dead yet, and said he held out hope that Lang would be able to round up the 60 votes he needs in the few days the current Legislature has left.

UPDATE 12:40 p.m. -- The bill just failed on a 53-59-1 vote (60 was needed for passage). The sponsor, state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, has put the bill on postponed consideration, which effectively pulled it back before the vote was official and allows him to try again later if he can come up with extra votes.

Lang closed with an impassioned, shouting floor speech that was cheered by medical patients who had crowded into the House gallery overhead.

The House will meet Dec. 1 for the last time this year, then for a few days in January before the new General Assembly is seated. If the bill doesn't pass by then, Lang would have to start from scratch.