Wheeler Legislation Moves Closer to Passage

Representative Barbara Wheeler’s (R-Crystal Lake) legislation to protect law enforcement, correctional officers, and employees of those agencies in the performance of their duties moves closer to passage. Wheeler’s legislation, House Bill 341, amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to ensure that law enforcement and corrections officials have the ability to conduct their duties in dealing with incarcerated or paroled individuals without risk of criminal or civil liability. This unintended consequence was brought to Wheeler’s attention thanks to the efforts of Bull Valley Police Chief Jim Page.

“This legislation provides an important fix to an unintended aspect of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program,” said Wheeler. “Our state’s law enforcement and corrections officials need to be able to perform their duties without having to second guess themselves because of an unintended consequence of a new law. I’m glad my legislative colleagues agree and I look forward to sending this legislation to the Senate for approval very soon.”

Under the new Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, law enforcement and corrections officials could have faced criminal charges for performing duties that may have required them to limit access to the program by cannabis use cardholders that are incarcerated, paroled, or under supervision. The correction made by HB341, also being sponsored by former police officers Rep. John Anthony and Rep. John Cabello, ensures officials will be safe to perform their legally mandated duties without fear of involuntarily putting themselves at risk because of an unforeseen aspect of the new law.

“When reviewing the Cannabis Pilot Program, we in law enforcement saw some areas of concern and one in particular,” said Bull Valley Police Chief Jim Page. “The potential risk to officers performing their duty needed immediate attention. I want to thank Rep. Wheeler for carrying this legislation and the legislature for acknowledging the hole in the new law and acting quickly to fix it.”

HB341 has been backed by not only Police organizations, but also the Illinois Hospital Association. Wheeler’s legislation has had a second reading on the House floor and is expected to be called for a final vote in the near future. To stay up-to-date on this legislation, or any others, visit www.ilga.gov.

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