SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – And now there are 21.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on Thursday, making it the 21st state to nullify the federal prohibition on weed.
The bill allows doctors to prescribe up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks to patients suffering from 21 illnesses, including cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis. Patients will be able to buy medical marijuana from one of 60 licensed dispensing centers. The new law does not allow patients to grow their own. The state will register 22 cultivation centers.
The Illinois House passed the bill 61-57. The Senate approved the measure 35-21.
A military veteran joined Quinn at the signing ceremony at the University of Chicago. Jim Champion suffers from multiple sclerosis and shared how marijuana helps reduce his pain. His wife indicated it allows her husband to cut his prescribed medication in half. He said he was glad he would no longer have to break the law to get relief.
“Now, we’re going to be offered a safer and more effective alternative to pain and spasm relief than the pharmaceuticals that we’ve been given by the bucket loads in the past,” he said. “I’ve always been ashamed that I was criminalized by the actions that I was forced to take for my pain relief.”
Quinn said the law represents an act of compassion.
“I feel that this is something, whatever faith we practice, we all believe that helping those who are sick, helping them recover and also helping them deal with pain. That’s a tenet in every faith and every religion,” he said. “So we’re really, I think, doing the right thing in Illinois.”
The feds disagree. In fact, they still brand Champion, and thousands like him, criminals.
Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. But the opinions of black-robed judicial oracles don’t magically transform the meaning of the Constitution. It delegates no power to regulate plants grown and used within the borders of a state. And the so-called war on drugs rests on the same legal authority as all of the other modern-day undeclared wars.
Doubt this? Then ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to legalize federal alcohol prohibition.
Nevertheless, 20 states had already put the well-being of their citizens above faux federal supremacy, nullified the unconstitutional prohibition and legalized medical marijuana anyway. Now Illinois joins the quickly growing list.
The message? When enough people say NO to unconstitutional federal “laws” – and enough states back them up, there’s not much the feds can do about it.
“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully nullify unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.
You can track state-level legislation nullifying the federal ban HERE.