Bill to add PTSD to medical marijuana program moves ahead

SHARE Bill to add PTSD to medical marijuana program moves ahead

A bill that would make people who suffer from PTSD eligible to use medical marijuana moved ahead Saturday in Springfield.

The House passed the measured by a vote of 68 to 36 with seven representatives voting present.

It passed the Senate earlier this month, 34 to 19 with two senators voting present, but returns there for a vote on an amendment to the bill that would clarify that medical marijuana users are not prohibited from having a state Firearm Owner’s Identification Card.

“People shouldn’t lose their FOID cards just because they’re sick,” said Rep. Lou Lang,, D-Skokie, a House sponsor of the legislation.

Some veterans have been advocating to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of about 40 state-approved conditions that make a person eligible to use medical marijuana.

“People should have access to more options than what is currently legal with the pharmaceuticals,” said Joel Erickson, 36, an Air Force veteran who said he suffers from PTSD.

He said many medicines give people like him terrible side-effects and marijuana helps those suffering from PTSD be calmer and sleep through the terrible nightmare that are often present.

Also Saturday, a measure that aims to curb the heroin epidemic won final legislative approval and was sent on to Gov. Bruce Rauner. The legislation, HB1, increases the accessibility of emergency drugsthat counteract heroin overdoses.

While the bill gained bipartisan support, Republicans raised questionsabout its estimated cost — $15 million — at a time the state isfacing a $3 billion budget hole.

Contributing: Natasha Korecki

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