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State

Simon supports medical marijuana

CHICAGO (AP) – Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she is in favor of a bill allowing the medical use of marijuana, explaining Sunday that testimony from seriously ill veterans and other patients helped change her mind.

“As a former prosecutor my first reaction was, ‘I’m not interesting in changing our laws on medical marijuana,’” she told The Associated Press in an interview. But she said that after hearing from patients and reading up on the bill, she’s convinced the regulations are strict enough.

Backers of the measure, which has cleared the Illinois House and awaits a Senate vote, have said the same thing.

The plan, touted as the strictest in the nation among states that have legalized medical marijuana, would authorize physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with whom they have an existing relationship and who are living with at least one of more than 30 medical conditions, including cancer.

The proposal creates a framework for a pilot program that includes requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks. It also sets a 2.5-ounce limit per patient per purchase and sets out state-regulated dispensaries.

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