Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law Thursday afternoon at the University of Chicago making Illinois the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana.
A four-year pilot program comes next, and it will go into effect Jan. 1. People with serious diseases will be allowed to get a special card allowing them to buy up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana from their choice of 60 state-licensed dispensaries. However, Illinois' new medical marijuana law is said to be the strictest in the country.
We reached out to our area Patch readers on Facebook to ask: What do you think? Would you be comfortable with a medical-marijuana dispensary in your town? Next door? Do you foresee any good or ill effects from this?
Check out some of what readers had to say:
Betty Morris: "It's about time and I think it would be fine to have a dispensary in my area." – Naperville Patch Facebook
Beth Klobuchar-Oliver: "The majority of prescription drugs that Americans are on cause many more negative effects then marijuana has ever been known to cause. The facts and the research have proven this. Marijuana is the least of anyone's worries. Let's look at all those people who are on anti-depressants, take a look at the side effects: they offer more danger for those who take these pills, then someone who is smoking marijuana." Wheaton Patch Facebook
Dennis Chadra: "'Lost in the narrative of those who promote marijuana usage are the consequences to society as a whole… What happens to citizens driving after smoking? What happens when employees show up to work still high? ... Where medical marijuana has been approved, it has become clear many without a medical need have received the card… Legalizing marijuana sends our society down a slippery path based upon unfounded premises.' Joan Neuhaus Schaan is the fellow in homeland security and terrorism at the Baker Institute." Wheaton Patch Facebook
Beth Collins Lawford: "I for one am glad that this will be available to those that can really benefit from it, and would have no problem with a dispensary right next door. What concerns me is the doctors writing Rx's when not it is not medically appropriate - just as they do quite frequently for narcotic pain needs." – Lisle Patch Facebook
Omer Aslam: "At face value not horrible, but this is America: we can't handle alcohol without DUIs; we can't handle [breasts] on TV; we cant stop texting and driving; why does anyone thing as a a society we can handle marijuana? We are not Europe; we are not educated enough to handle this." – Naperville Patch Facebook
Tina Huber: "Yay! The facts are amazing! Comparing it to the awful, awful drugs the Western medical school provides... this is wonderful!" – Woodridge Patch Facebook
Brett Stone: "What we can't handle is money. Legal weed in IL will knock off a lot of our state deficit now that weed is a taxable product. Quit complaining about citizens being irresponsible when our politicians and law enforcers are the ones we should be worried about. Let's just do ourselves a favor and buy weed, grow weed, open dispensaries and sell, sell, sell an American-grown and American-made product!" – Naperville Patch Facebook
Becki Thompson: "Such a bad idea... seen how well it has not worked in California; this will be no better. I do concede that there are some people that truly do have medical need but the the true medical side of it is without the THC... it is derived from the plant not the high." – Naperville Patch Facebook
Abby Bischoff: "I feel like there is going to be a surge in glaucoma diagnoses…" – Wheaton Patch Facebook
Lisa Bidwell: "Where's the list of illnesses and what symptoms do I need to present with to get it? LOL, kidding." – Naperville Patch Facebook