Senator Dick Durbin weighs in on medical marijuana

Aug 7, 2013

Credit Durbin.Senate.Gov

Medical marijuana may be legal in his home state, but the number two Democrat in the U.S. Senate says that shouldn't be a national policy.  IPR’s Amanda Vinicky has more:

It'll be awhile before patients with certain diseases will actually be able to use pot to ease their symptoms - the Illinois law doesn't take effect until January, and state regulators have to put rules in place.

Even so, clinics  - including one in Chicago  - are already beginning to open. Of course, it defies federal law.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he's not ready for the feds to change course:

"No, I tell ya, I think we ought to … let’s approach it this way: let’s watch how the states deal with medical marijuana before we try to establish a national policy."

Rather, Durbin says the U.S. needs to loosen up on sentences for drug crimes.  He says too much money is spent to imprison drug offenders who aren't dangerous.

Illinois is the 20th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.