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Medical Marijuana Legalized for Epileptic Children in Illinois

Update Date: Jul 21, 2014 10:38 AM EDT

On this past Sunday, the Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that will allow children and adults suffering from epilepsy to use medicinal marijuana.

"This new law will help alleviate the suffering of many adults and children across the state," Quinn said in statement. "Epilepsy is a debilitating condition, and this much-needed relief will help to reduce some of its symptoms for those who endure seizures."

Quinn added, reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, "I think it's very important that we move forward and extend the opportunity for this important life-saving law to go to all those who need it."

According to the law, doctors will be able to treat children who suffer from seizures with medicinal marijuana. However, the marijuana must be in a "non-smokable form" and the child patient must get permission from his/her parent. Adult epileptic patients can use the smokable form of cannabis. State officials are in the midst of putting the finishing touches to the medical marijuana program.

"I have a 14-year-old constituent by the name of Hugh who lives with epilepsy," said Republican state lawmaker Jim Durkin, who co-sponsored the new law reported by Reuters. "His parents, Bob and Kelly, want to provide their son with as much relief as possible. Unfortunately, traditional medications and methods have not worked."

The law will go into effect in January of next year. The new medical marijuana program will also be up and running in 2015. State residents will be allowed to apply for medical marijuana to treat the approved medical conditions starting in September.

Legalizing medical marijuana for child patients is a huge step in loosening the limitations of marijuana within the U.S. So far, only Colorado and Washington have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. Other states have legalized it only for medical uses. However, the drug is still considered illegal under federal law.

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