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Medical Marijuana Proponents Angry Over County's Plan To Burn 5,500 Pounds Of Seized Cannabis

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Last week, Cook County Sheriff's police officers seized 5,525 pounds of marijuana in west suburban Lyons. The bust was one of the biggest in Cook County's history--and now the department plans to burn the majority of the pot, and some medical marijuana advocates are not happy about it.

As a medical marijuana bill stalls in the Illinois General Assembly, those pushing for the legalization of pot for medical purposes are using last week's bust to speak out about the issue.

"Depending on its purity, [the seized marijuana] represents a lot of medicine that could have helped so many Illinoisans," Julie Falco, a North Side woman who uses marijuana to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Lisa Lange, another area woman who uses marijuana for medical purposes, agreed with Falco--and said she would rather see the department take another approach.

"Incinerating it is a waste," Lange told the Sun-Times. "I would prefer to see it tested and then, if safe, distributed to compassionate care clubs."

The Sun-Times reports:

Police are planning to incinerate all but 10,000 grams of the marijuana, saving that amount as evidence.

"We will solicit a court order today to have the rest incinerated safely," Kevin Ruel, deputy chief of special investigations for the Cook County sheriff's office, said Friday.

The debate comes as the Compassionate Use of Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Program Act is stalled in the Illinois General Assembly. Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) sponsored the bill, and said there is support for legalizing marijuana in Springfield, but many politicians are afraid to vote for it in an election year. He told Medill Reports that the earliest there would be a vote on the bill would be January 2011.