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Medical marijuana for Illinois: Benefits waiting to be reaped

According to an article from the Chicago Tribune titled “La Grange prepares for medical marijuana law,” Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said he believes the bill “will pass” during the spring legislative session. The bill would be another move in the right direction for medical marijuana advocates, and in their eyes, potentially help move the country towards national medical legalization.

Yet, there are still plenty of opponents of the bill and they are voicing their opinions.

Illinois Partners Providing Marijuana Education (IPPME) prepared “Too Many Problems – Too many Unanswered Questions,” an online informational article, to Meducate the public about medical marijuana.

In it, the dangers of allowing medical marijuana to be grown at home, how youth see messages of cannabis being beneficial and the high potency are among the tops that are explored.

IPPME’s statement is dripping with hypocrisy in the first place, considering the advertisements, and messages received by people to consume tobacco and alcohol every single day.

In addition, many of its claims simply are not true. The higher potency of medical marijuana is what growers are trying to achieve, and what some patients need.

A mother in Maine has an autistic son named Bryce Lay who experiences psychotic episodes according to an article on news station WMTW’s website from Portland, Maine.

The mother, Stephanie Lay, turned to medical marijuana when various anti-psychotics would not work. At first, Lay baked cannabis into brownies for her son to eat.

The results were dramatic and immediate.

With minimal side effects, her son stopped having episodes while under the effects of marijuana.

Osteopathic physician Dr. Dustin Sulak, who treated Bryce Lay, supports the use of medical marijuana.

“We used to be told during the ‘Just Say No’ campaign that cannabis killed brain cells,” he said. “But now we know that it actually protects brain cells and actually stimulates the growth of new brain cells.”

However, today there are several myths about marijuana, including killing brain cells. These myths are part of the problem with getting approval for medical marijuana.

Outside of all the myths associated with marijuana use, what about some of the positives of legalizing medical marijuana?

According to the Huffington Post, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron wrote a paper which states that legalizing marijuana could save $7.7 billion annually from not needing to enforce marijuana prohibition. The article states that more than 300 economists, including three Nobel laureates, have signed a petition in support of Miron’s thesis.

In addition, if marijuana was taxed similarly to tobacco, another six billion a year could be saved.

As the Huffington Post pointed out in the article, with a deficit around $1.5 trillion, the money saved would not be insignificant.

At the crux of it, adding medical marijuana to Illinois, any other state or nationally, would save money, create jobs and revenue for thousands of citizens.

For those still opposed, their side becomes harder and harder to support as more evidence comes out showing how medical marijuana could help the economy, give cancer patients and others relief for their pain and actually help stimulate cell growth in the brain.

In Illinois, those benefits and many others could soon be felt for citizens across the state, even in here in Peoria.

Against medical marijuana or for it, the time has come for an open national debate.

If the progress of the last two decades continues, national medical legalization could be right around the corner.


David is a sports communications major from Skokie. He is the sports staff reporter.

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