Illinois bill would expand availability of medical marijuana

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois Senate bill that would expand the use of medical marijuana in order to combat the state's opioid crisis has been referred to the Illinois House Rules Committee.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the bill would allow individuals who qualify for opioids to apply for the state's medical cannabis program. It would create a pilot program where patients can take a physician certification to a dispensary to receive medical marijuana.

Democratic Sen. Don Harmon says the bill he's sponsored could help patients transition away from opioids or treat pain without ever using them.

Republican Sen. Dale Fowler says the bill is in response to the state's growing opioid crisis, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 10,000 residents over the past decade.

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