Illinois medical marijuana bill gets another look - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Illinois medical marijuana bill gets another look

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Supporters of medical marijuana plan to push for another vote Wednesday in the Illinois House, which fell eight votes short the last time it was on the floor. This time, the measure's chief sponsor thinks it could now win a majority.

During the decade or more that Illinois' been debating it, 18 other states have legalized medical marijuana and now voters in Colorado and Washington State have approved recreational use.

A multiple sclerosis patient on the North Side told Fox 32 News that she may move if the measure fails again on Wednesday.

Three times a day, Julie Falco slowly makes her way to the kitchen of her North Side apartment to eat a ginger snap cookie that could, theoretically, get her arrested.

It contains cannabis from marijuana plants, which she sometimes washes down with a glass of legally-purchased hemp milk. Cannabis, she claims, is by far the best pain reliever she's yet found for the multiple sclerosis she's been battling since the 1980s.

"I was so lethargic and depressed and under a cloud of pharmaceutical side-effects I was ready to commit suicide," Falco says. "And I felt better about getting up in the day. And I thought, "'OK. I'm going to keep taking this, cuz it's making me feel better.'"

Falco rarely smokes pot. She prefers to call it cannabis and keeps jars of honey, gelatin and liquid tinctures laced with it.

"Nothing else was working," Falco explains. "And I tried all the other pharmaceuticals, all the other medications. And they just didn't work. They added so much more symptomatic side effects that it wasn't worth it."

Falco's been risking arrest since 2004, when she first testified publicly to the value of medical marijuana at a legislative hearing in the State Capitol. Since then, her degenerative disease has made it much more difficult to travel. Otherwise, she said, she would be in Springfield Wednesday for an expected showdown vote on the floor of the House.

While there remains substantial opposition in the General Assembly to medical marijuana, it appears none who voted for it last spring faced major attacks because of their votes. But the bill's chief sponsor in the House, Skokie Representative Lou Lang, says a dozen members hold the key.

FOX 32's Mike Flannery will be live tweeting the vote when it happens Wednesday. Follow him: @PoliticalEditor.

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