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Medical Marijuana for Children with Epilepsy Advances

SPRINGFIELD --- Children who suffer from epilepsy would be able to use medical marijuana to treat their condition under legislation the House overwhelmingly approved today.

The measure would add epilepsy to the list of ailments treatable under the state’s medical marijuana program and specifically allow children to have access.

Sponsoring Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, said the legislation creates a "path" that would help many children in need of relief from seizures. "This product is incredibly helpful for young children with epilepsy," Lang said.

Lang received support from House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. Durkin said he was skeptical at first, but he was convinced children would not become addicted.

Opponents worried youngsters under 18 could be exposed to marijuana.

The bill already had passed the Senate, but Lang changed it to include provisions designed to bar kids from smoking medical marijuana and also from buying it.

The House approved the measure 98-18, but the bill has to go back to the Senate for another vote.