Illinois Gov. Quinn Approves Medical Marijuana - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Gov. Quinn Approves Medical Marijuana

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CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois has become the 20th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law Thursday at a new University of Chicago medical facility. Quinn says he's heard compelling stories from seriously ill patients - including veterans - and says medical marijuana will provide many people relief.

"I think this is an important day a day of healing for Illinois for helping people who deal with pain every day often times very severe pain from diseases very challenging to a human being and its important to do whatever we can to help ease their pain," Quinn said.

He also says Illinois' new law has some of the toughest standards in the country, including background checks for all staff at state-run dispensaries and 24-hour surveillance at growing centers.

Illinois' law takes effect Jan. 1, but it'll take several months before medical marijuana will be available for purchase. The measure outlines a four-year pilot program for patients suffering from more than 30 serious illnesses or diseases.

Nineteen other states and Washington, D.C., allow medical marijuana

The bill is HB1. Online: http://www.ilga.gov