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Gov. Quinn, sign medical marijuana law

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

On behalf of many Illinoisans suffering from terminal illnesses, debilitating medical conditions, and incapacitating pain, I ask Gov. Pat Quinn to sign House Bill 1 – the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act – into law.

I’m a disabled veteran of the U.S. Army. My multiple sclerosis dictates that I’m wheelchair bound for the remainder of my life.

My symptoms include severe muscle spasms, fatigue, and prolonged bouts of extreme pain. My spasms force my legs to lock together and my hands to crimp up. 

Despite taking 59 pills a day, no amount of medication helped. But cannabis reduced my medication intake to 25 pills a day while enabling me to separate my arms and legs, undergo physical therapy and, most important, get out of the bed and enjoy my life.

Unlike many harmful prescription drugs, cannabis is natural and non-addictive. With strong safeguards to restrict access, House Bill 1 prevents medical marijuana from recreational and illicit use and ensures that only qualified patients can obtain it.

House Bill 1 also allows patients and caregivers – such as my wife, Sandy – safe access instead of going to the streets and risking harm or arrest. 

Some believe House Bill 1 sends the wrong message to our young people. But Sandy and I raised two boys as successful adults who value compassion for those who are sick. They now spend quality time with their father instead of watching me suffer helplessly.

Signing House Bill 1 would serve as a godsend to patients like myself and many others who desperately need it to become law.

Note to readers – House Bill 1, which would establish Illinois’ medical marijuana program, was approved by both chambers of the Legislature.

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