Illinois lawmakers vote to allow medical marijuana as an opioid alternative

(Courtesy of DPA)

A proposed law approved by the Illinois Senate would allow the state to medicate with marijuana instead of prescription opioids.

Senate Bill 336 was passed on Thursday with a 44-6 bipartisan vote, which would allow patients on prescription opioids to use cannabis as a safer alternative, the AP reports.

Under the proposal, patients would be allowed to purchase cannabis at medical dispensaries if they provide an opioid prescription and written approval from a doctor. Patients would then receive a temporary 12-month permit to use no more than 2.5 ounces every two weeks, with the possibility to apply for a permanent card for persisting conditions.

The approved measure follows a medical study released earlier this month that found a 14 percent drop in opioid prescriptions throughout states that allow some form of legal marijuana.

Democratic Sen. Don Harmon has sponsored the bill in hopes to combat “a crisis ravaging the state.”

“When people ask me if we are not simply creating a gateway, I tell people this: I don’t know if cannabis is addictive, but I do know this: Opioids and heroin kills people,…

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