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posted: 2/7/2013 5:00 AM

Fight, but prepare for medical pot

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Realizing that most of the mainstream media in Chicagoland leans to the left on social issues such as gay marriage, amnesty for illegal immigrants, sanctify of life, and in pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana, I received a positive jolt of common sense when on Jan. 16 a kindred spirit was found in a Daily Herald editorial, "Towns wise to prepare on medical marijuana."

Although the bill to legalize medical marijuana never made it out of legislative committee in the lame duck sessions of the Illinois General Assembly, the issue still has life and will surely be revisited in the 98th General Assembly, where Democrats now hold vote-proof majorities in both houses.

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The previous legislature's House Bill 30, which nearly passed, focused only on medical marijuana and included a three-year test program in which qualified patients would have been limited to 2.5 ounces of marijuana over a 14-day period. The local focus of that bill was the creation of nonprofit cannabis dispensaries, which would have been allowed to grow, harvest and distribute marijuana. They would have been limited to one per state Senate district.

Local officials are well advised to do some advance planning to be ready should a medical marijuana bill pass in the 98th General Assembly

Medical marijuana and marijuana legalization efforts send the wrong messages to youth that marijuana is not only safe but that it is a medicine. Legislation and legislative efforts of this kind threaten public health and significantly undermine prevention efforts of community anti-drug coalitions throughout the state of Illinois.

Contact your state senators and representative to urge them to vote "no" on future legislation to legalize marijuana for medical use. Also urge your city councils to pass a zoning ordinance prohibiting dispensaries prior to legislation passing at the state level.

Nancy J. Thorner

Lake Bluff

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