A bid to legalize medical cannabis in Illinois is sputtering out, with a key lawmaker saying it’s unlikely he will put an MMJ measure up for a vote in the state House by the Jan. 8 deadline.
“Looks like it is not going to happen right now,” Illinois State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) wrote in an email response to questions by Medical Marijuana Business Daily.
Lang said he doesn’t have time today to explain the situation. But he indicated that his decision to let the bill die without a vote doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of support among lawmakers.
“It has little to do with vote count,” he wrote.
Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that Illinois had a real shot at becoming the 19th US state to legalize medical cannabis. An MMJ bill had already cleared the state Senate, and Lang expressed optimism that he could get the 60 votes needed to pass a similar proposal in the House.
Several supportive lawmakers began wavering in late November ahead of the initial scheduled vote on the bill. But Lang was able to extend the final deadline for a vote to Jan. 8 and has remained optimistic about its chances of passage, saying he needs a little extra time to gain support from his peers.
The bill – which has seven co-sponsors aside from Lang – calls for a three-year pilot program allowing registered patients to obtain medical marijuana from licensed, regulated nonprofit dispensaries under one of the strictest regulatory frameworks in the country.
Illinois would be a huge win for the medical cannabis industry. The state is home to roughly 13 million people (which ranks fifth in the country by population), giving it a potential market of around 260,000 MMJ patients.