After a lengthy debate, the Illinois Senate has approved legislation that would for the first time allow doctors in the state to prescribe marijuana to treat the symptoms of certain specific illnesses.
Opponents of the bill claim any relaxation of marijuana laws will mean more illicit drug use, especially among teens. But supporters say marijuana is a safer and more effective way to treat the effects of cancer, multiple sclerosis and other ailments than many of the prescription drugs commonly in use today.
The measure passed on a vote of 35-21. The bill had earlier passed the House, and now goes to Governor Pat Quinn, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.