Illinois physicians call on state to legalize medical marijuana

By WEEK Reporter

April 16, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 8:23 PM CDT

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Nearly 250 Illinois physicians are calling on state lawmakers to endorse the use of medical marijuana.

The Illinois House of Representatives expected to vote on Wednesday on legislation that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses

The physicians have signed on to the following statement:

"Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial."

House Bill 1 would make Illinois the 19th state to allow patients with certain conditions, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. It would also establish a network of state-regulated cultivation centers and dispensaries to provide marijuana to qualified patients.