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The marijuana "legalizers," as a first step in their goal of open and public use of marijuana, are attempting to convince our Legislature that smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. A medical cannabis bill is coming before the Illinois Senate - SB 2568 - which would permit anyone with a "debilitating medical condition" and a doctor's recommendation to receive a registry identification card. It would allow a participant to have 12 marijuana plants. Each participant may have a "primary caregiver" who is at least 18 and has agreed to assist with a person's medical use of cannabis. A caregiver may assist up to five participants. Who will monitor a caregiver's distribution of the marijuana grown for participants?

Each plant can produce up to a pound of marijuana. One pound can make 1,176 "joints." Twelve plants can produce 14,117 joints. In a sophisticated growing operation, plants can be harvested more than once a year. This amount would permit someone to smoke up to 38 joints each day of the year. Assuming this usage would be considered excessive, what would happen with the balance of the marijuana? In eight of 10 states where medical marijuana has been approved, the percent change in juveniles, 12-17 years old, monthly marijuana use was worse than the national average.

The FDA does not recognize marijuana as medicine. Most medical malpractice insurance companies will not cover the use of non-FDA approved drugs. Will insurance costs increase? Do we want our Legislature approving medicine? What message will this send to our youth? What will this do to the supply side of marijuana? Will this change our neighborhoods? Will this increase our law enforcement needs? I think the answers to these questions will lead responsible and concerned people to tell their Illinois senators and representatives: "Not in my state!"

Tom Spicer

Bloomington

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