Medical marijuana bills are circulating in Illinois and Florida. In Illinois, HB1, authored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), will soon be voted on in the House. According to Rep. Lang, the bill is just "one or two" votes short of passage. As for Florida, the Health Policy Committee has been assigned “The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act,” named for the president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, who has ALS. Police raided Jordan’s house earlier this year and seized the marijuana she was using to treat her condition.
The interest surrounding each bill has inspired editorial boards in both states to throw their support behind the issue of marijuana reform.
Illinois’ Daily Register put a face on medical marijuana. Twenty-five-year-old Ana DeVarose, an MS sufferer, spoke candidly about her debilitating symptoms and deleterious medication, which almost took a lethal toll on her body in 2011.
Like the lawmakers who have continuously voted down medical marijuana legislation, DeVarose’s grandparents oppose marijuana — at least they did until their granddaughter showed them the impact marijuana had on her symptoms.
The Prairie State’s oldest newspaper, the State Journal-Register, not only came out in favor of medical marijuana but also endorsed regulating recreational marijuana. “None of the harm from using marijuana is worse than … alcohol and tobacco. It’s hard to take anyone who argues otherwise seriously.”
In Florida, the Sun-Sentinel confronted lawmakers who treat legislation as political tug-of-wars and not statutes that impact lives:
[V]oter turnout might benefit Democrats if the medical marijuana issue is on the ballot. But that's not why the Republican-led Legislature should derail the constitutional amendment drive by instead passing a law that allows sick or dying people to smoke marijuana. The legislature should legalize medical marijuana because it shouldn't be a crime for doctors to help desperately ill patients find relief, perhaps eat a meal, or find some rest. It is the compassionate thing to do.
Hopefully more papers devote some ink to promoting reform.