The next state to legalize medical cannabis could very well be Illinois, but it’s going to take an aggressive last-minute push by MMJ-friendly lawmakers for that to become a reality.
Last week, Illinois State Rep. Lou Lang delayed a scheduled vote on his proposal to temporarily legalize medical marijuana, saying he needs more time to convince his peers to back the measure. A vote could be held this week – or by Jan. 8 at the latest- if Lang feels he can generate enough support.
The bill calls for a three-year pilot program allowing registered patients to obtain medical marijuana from licensed, regulated nonprofit dispensaries. Industry leaders say it would be the most restrictive MMJ law to date.
The fact that Colorado and Washington just approved the use of recreational cannabis could help the bill, showing that attitudes about marijuana in general have shifted. Alternatively, it could hurt the cause instead: Some lawmakers might see it as a sign that MMJ laws create a “slippery slope” eventually leading to general cannabis legalization.
It’s unclear how many lawmakers Lang still needs to sway. He said a number of those who had indicated support are now wavering. So the probability that Illinois will pass an MMJ law in the next month appears somewhat low. But Lang’s continued efforts to lobby fellow lawmakers indicate that the bill still has a chance, and at least that’s something.
Also last week, MMJ Business Daily posted a recap of recent MMJ and cannabis developments in Michigan. The developments – which include positive election-related results and a favorable outcome in a court case against dispensary workers – provide a much-needed boost to the state’s beleaguered medical marijuana industry.
Scores of dispensaries across the state have closed over the past 18 months after a damaging court ruling and a crackdown by some key officials.But the momentum has finally shifted in the MMJ industry’s favor, and we could see this bear fruit next year as Michigan lawmakers debate new medical cannabis laws and regulations. Hopefully, the momentum will translate into changes that create a stable medical marijuana market for years to come.
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