Lawmakers approve extension in medical marijuana program

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ medical marijuana program would be extended by two or more years under legislation heading to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Senate OK’d the plan Thursday in a 33-16 vote. It was previously approved by the House.

Rauner has said the program shouldn’t be extended until it’s fully evaluated.

Lawmakers approved using marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating illnesses two years ago. It’s set to end after 2017, but there have been delays in getting it underway.

Dispensaries could begin selling the product later this year. The legislation extends the program to four years after that date.

Sponsoring Sen. William Haine, an Alton Democrat, says companies have invested a lot of money in setting up operations and need more time to make the process work.

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The bill is HB3299.

Online: http://www.ilga.gov

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