State Rep. Natalie Manley hosted one of her colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday to talk to Will County residents about the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

Manley, D-Joliet, introduced State Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, to talk about the law the state legislature passed earlier this year, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Morgan is a former health care attorney and helped the state government implement the Affordable Care Act and its medical marijuana program under two governors.

About two dozen residents attended the informational session and questioned Morgan about the particulars of the law and what issues could come up.

Morgan conceded it wouldn’t be perfect at first, and the growing and availability of the product wouldn’t be overly expansive right from the start.

"It was definitely deliberately designed so that we’re starting slow and (having) more measured growth," Morgan said.

Romeoville resident Frank Gagliardo, 80, told Morgan about his struggles trying to get medical marijuana for his wife who died of multiple sclerosis several years ago.

He said needing to get fingerprinted and pay fees for the drug was cumbersome, and prevented him from even getting the drug for his wife.

Morgan said the state got rid of requiring fingerprinting for medical marijuana, although there were still some fees, which he conceded were expensive.

He also explained it would still be to a patient’s advantage to use medical marijuana over purchasing recreational marijuana for ailments.

That’s because of cheaper taxes.

Patients would also have priority access to the product, since there might be a shortage in the recreational supply in the first few years of its being legal in Illinois.

That was good news for Gagliardo because, he said, despite never having smoked marijuana, he’s been experiencing shoulder pain after years of being a truck driver and wants to find new remedies.

"I’m interested in weening myself off of Tylenol and having the oils and the edibles," Gagliardo said.

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City: Joliet,Region: Joliet,Region: South Suburbs,Opinion

via The Herald-News

September 18, 2019 at 02:26PM