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Illinois Senate approves medical marijuana bill

The Illinois Senate [official website] passed a bill [text] on Friday that would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state, subject to strict regulations. The bill indicates that marijuana may only be used for specified medical conditions, and is intended to be regulated through dosage limits and background checks. The state would license 22 growers and 60 dispensers across the state to provide the drug. Those who qualify will be prohibited from smoking marijuana in public or around minors. This bill has already been approved the the Illinois House [official website]. The bill will now proceed to the governor, who has not indicated [Chicago Tribune report] whether he will sign the legislation.

The sale and use of marijuana [JURIST news archive] remains a controversial issue in the US and abroad. Earlier this month, the Vermont State Legislature approved a bill that replaces criminal penalties with civil fines [JURIST report] for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of hashish. Also this month, the Supreme Court of California ruled [JURIST report] unanimously that local governments may outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries, upholding a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010. In February the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the private sale of medical marijuana is illegal [JURIST report]. Additionally, the top court in Ontario upheld Canada's general ban on marijuana [JURIST report]. In December an Arizona judge ruled that the state's medical marijuana law is constitutional [JURIST report] and instructed the state to permit dispensaries to open. In November lawmakers in Uruguay proposed legislation for state-regulated marijuana [JURIST report]. Also that month Washington [Initiative 502, PDF] and Colorado [Amendment 64, PDF] legalized the drug [JURIST report] via state ballot initiatives. Similarly, medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts [Harvard Crimson report] for the first time, as over 60 percent of voters approved a similar referendum [Petition 11-11, PDF].

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