It's considered a lame duck session, but Illinois lawmakers will be scrambling to decide the fate of several hot-button issues, including possibly legalizing medical marijuana, when they reconvene in the statehouse on Tuesday.
Part of HB 30 includes the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, allowing qualified patients under medical care to buy and use up to 2.5 ounces pot during a two-week period.
According to the pro-pot non-profit group, NORML, legislative support for legalizing medical marijuana in the state House of Representatives has fallen just shy of a majority in previous roll calls on the matter. The state Senate approved the medical marijuana bill in Illinois in 2009.
The bill's sponsor, Skokie Democrat state Rep. Lou Lang, told the Northwest Indiana Times this month that 92 of his House colleagues have said they hope to see the bill pass, but are hesitant to publicly vote in its favor due to "political reasons."
Currently, 18 other states have legalized the medicinal marijuana under doctor supervision. Overall, laws against the drug have been softening: in November's general election, both Washington and Colorado passed unprecedented ballot measures legalizing recreational pot usage.
Legal weed -- for those with a qualifying medical condition, at least -- is just one of the big decisions that may be determined in the upcoming legislative session. As the Quad City Times notes, pension reform, concealed-carry legislation, a massive gambling expansion and same-sex marriage could also come up for vote in Springfield in the weeks ahead.
The outcome of the session could mean big changes in Illinois, touching everything from money to personal freedoms. The AP, however, says the session could result in "dramatic confrontation, negotiating-table settlements, anticlimactic if symbolic votes, or no decisions at all."