Mt. Vernon Register-News

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December 25, 2013

Medical marijuana bill will be law Jan. 1

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“I've watched it in other states,” Luechtefeld said. “It is the first step to opening up the legalization of marijuana.”

Also, he said doctors have identified alternative drugs to marijuana that can be used to treat the same conditions.

House Bill 1 does conflict with the federal law prohibiting marijuana. Even so, Lang said he does not anticipate a problem with law enforcement.

“I think Illinois law enforcement will follow the Illinois law,” Lang said.

Lang also pointed out that federal government officials have stated they have “no desire to prosecute sick people.”

Medical marijuana facilities that have been shut down by the federal government in the past have mainly been those violating state law by growing far more than they could legally sell, Lang said.

Two other major new laws set to go into effect Jan. 1 are Senate Bills 2380 and 2381.

These pieces of legislation are designed to prohibit state grant dollars from being used for political purposes and to make it easier to keep track of how state grants are used, states a news release from State Sen. Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, the lead sponsor of both laws.

The new laws were introduced following a 2012 CNN investigation that allegedly revealed how taxpayer-financed grant funding in Illinois was being used for “questionable activities,” the release states.

The grant funding in question was for the Governor's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program. Funding was allegedly used to pay teenagers to march in a parade with the Governor, attend yoga classes, take field trips to museums and more, the release states.

Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for Sen. Radogno, said prior to the new legislation, state law was not specific on the use of grant funding for political purposes. Senate Bill 2380 corrects that problem by setting up clear restrictions, Schuh said.

Senate Bill 2381 requires a database to be established for public view that shows how the state is using its grant funding and what organizations are receiving money, Schuh said.

“By having a statewide database, it'll make it easier for the public to see how the state is using its grants,” Schuh said.

Representatives of the Governor's Office were unavailable for comment.

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