09 April 2010

When's the Vote?

I've been wondering when the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (bill HB2514) was finally going to be voted on in the House. The Reader answers thus:

As the chief sponsor, Lang decides when to put the bill to a vote. He says he'll wait until he's sure he has the votes he needs, because he can't afford to fail: "Many members will vote for this but they'll only do it once. They'll go out on a limb once."

The current legislative session ends in early May. In the fall the General Assembly will convene for a veto session; its formal purpose is to consider legislation the governor might veto over the summer, and although the house could consider new business like the medical marijuana bill, a supermajority of 71 votes would be needed to pass it. "It is entirely possible that I won't take a vote until January," Lang says. A new General Assembly will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 12, and on the preceding Monday and Tuesday the old assembly will convene to wrap up unfinished business. Only a simple majority will be required to pass legislation on those two days, and Lang thinks he might be able to talk a few lame duck lawmakers into changing their positions on HB2514.

Aside from them, where could the remaining votes he needs come from? Linn believes some Republicans from collar counties can be persuaded.

"Yeah, that's true," says Lang, "and a few suburban Cook legislators too. Some of the downstaters are hopeless, but we're working on it."

If the act doesn't pass before January 12, it's history. Lang and his allies in the house and senate would have to start all over again.

Sigh. We have seen Prohibition fail to work with a far more dangerous mind-altering substance (alcohol), so let's end this Prohibition. I wish I could afford to send every Illinois lawmaker a copy of Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (and figure out some way to make sure they all read it).

Again, I say, Sigh.

The entire article is in the current on-line Reader.

No comments: