Illinois Senate views marijuana as opioid alternative

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are turning to marijuana to fight opioid abuse.

The Senate voted 44-6 Thursday to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. Those addicted to opioids would also be eligible to apply for a medical card to use marijuana.

Sen. Don Harmon is the sponsor of the plan. The Oak Park Democrat says the measure would combat an opioid crisis "ravaging the state."

Illinois has one of the more restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's spokeswoman Rachel Bold says the Republican is open to all solutions to the crisis.

A Cook County circuit court ruling in February approved medical marijuana for the condition known as Intractable Pain Disease. The Rauner administration appealed.

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