Illinois lawmakers are turning to marijuana to fight opioid abuse.
The Senate voted 44-6 on Thursday to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. Those addicted to opioids would also be eligible to apply for a medical card to use marijuana. The proposal now would need to be approved by the House before going to the governor.
The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, says the measure would combat an opioid crisis "ravaging the state."
The legislation would expand access to what's considered one of the more restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country.
A Cook County circuit court ruling in February expanded use of medical marijuana for the condition known as Intractable Pain Disease. It is typically treated with opioids. The Illinois Department of Public Health appealed the decision.
How local senators voted on the bill:
- Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville: Yes
- Sen. William Haine, D-Alton: Yes
- Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon: No
- Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo: Yes