CHICAGO
03/25/2013 05:35 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2013

Illinois Medical Marijuana Bill Nearly Has The Votes It Needs For House OK

A vendor points out the variety of marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis
A vendor points out the variety of marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market, for sales of medical marijuana products, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. The market hosts nine permanent vendors for seven-day-a-week sales, as well as a number of daily vendors of a variety dried medicines, edible products and starts. Voters in Washington state last fall passed Initiative 502, which legalizes the recreational possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and calls for the creation of state-licensed pot growers, processors and retail stores. Recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin late this year, and in the meantime, the state’s medical marijuana industry continues to operate. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

After years of delays and narrow-misses, might the Illinois state legislature finally be ready to legalize medical marijuana in the land of Lincoln.

In an interview with Pekin Times, state Rep. Lou Lang, the marijuana bill's sponsor, said that the bill is today just "one or two" votes short of passage in the state's House of Representatives, where similar legislation has languished in the past.

Eighteen other states plus Washington, D.C. have already legalized the use of marijuana by individuals with particular medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer or multiple sclerosis. And Lang's proposal -- House Bill 1 -- has even tighter regulations than those of past failed iterations which at the time were already the most strictly-written in the country.

As a part of a four-year trial outlined in the bill, approved marijuana users would get a special ID card allowing them to buy limited amounts of the drug from one of 66 state-licensed dispensaries.

A February poll of Illinois residents overwhelmingly supported the legalization of marijuana in the state, but opponents to the measure argue its passage would increase recreational use of the drug, especially among teens.

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