New laws for 2014 will impact Ill.
BELOIT -- There is little doubt that 2013 will be remembered as one of the busier years for the legislature in Illinois. Going forward, though, it always pays to review, and it's especially good to know exactly how the new laws might affect you in 2014.
To that end, the Stateline News spoke to local lawmakers, state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, and state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Belvidere, to get some background on some of the new laws.
Although the agencies in charge of the program have just over a 100 days to work out the application process for patients to qualify, medical marijuana has, for all intents and purposes, arrived in Illinois as of 2014. The law does come with its hitches, though; it is set to expire in 2017. Legislators wrote a four-year pilot program contingency in as a move to examine the application of the law and make sure it can be regulated to the satisfaction of lawmakers.
"The decisions of registration continue to get delayed; the state is still in the process of making the rules. Once those are drafted they'll have to be approved by the legislature and at that point they can implement them," said Syverson, who supported the bill. "Unlike in Colorado or Oregon, the way this law is put together is much stricter, it's not like you can just go get a prescription because you have a cold.
To qualify it has to be a serious, debilitating or terminal illness. With the way things are going, I'd say we are looking closer at the end of the year before anything will be commercially available."
The bill had its critics, but Syverson said he feels it was necessary despite the regulatory hoops.
"I support the legislation," Syverson said. "Some of my Republican base wasn't very happy with that, but it's more of the Libertarian side of me.
"If it were my daughter or wife or family member who was terminally ill or in pain and marijuana helped them, even if it was psychosomatic, I'd want them to have it. Why shouldn't a dying person be able to try anything they want that can give them relief? In that respect I didn't have any qualms voting for it."
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