On Tuesday, Illinois lawmakers advanced a bill that would expand the use of medical marijuana to children who suffer from severe epileptic seizures. The proposed legislation, formally known as Senate Bill 2636, would also reduce the penalties for recreational marijuana possession in Illinois.
The bill has been heavily supported and campaigned by families of severely epileptic children as well as Senator Iris Martinez (D) from Chicago. The new legislation would allow minors with a history of severe seizures, including epilepsy, to be treated with an alternative form of medical cannabis called CBD or Cannabidiol.
Currently, 20 states have medical marijuana laws on the books, but only some of them include minors. Now that the bill has passed the Senate Public Health Committee 8-0, it moves to the full Senate for another round of voting.
In Illinois, where the four-year pilot program is considered one of the strictest in the nation, minors aren’t the only patients excluded from the state’s registry. Only those individuals suffering from at least one of 40 debilitating conditions and illnesses qualify.
To date, there have been countless parents who have had to suffer through watching their children have seizures. Many families dealing with the condition view this ruling as a life-saving solution for children suffering from epilepsy.
Meanwhile, the House Restorative Justice Committee passed two separate pieces of legislation that would ease the punishment of those caught with marijuana. These two laws have also been pushed by Rep. Christian Mitchell, one of the bill’s most prominent sponsors.
Under Mitchell’s House Bill 4299, which passed 6-0 in committee, instead of getting a misdemeanor for possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana, violators would get a fine of no more than $100 with a “petty offense” on their record.