Medical marijuana bill passes Illinois Senate, Women thrown under bus during debate

The Illinois Senate voted today to pass a bill allowing the sale of medical marijuana. Already passed by the House, it now heads to Governor Quinn for signing.

I’m in favor of of this bill. It sets tight controls but allows for a drug that has been proven to help many chronic and terminally ill patients when other drugs are ineffective. I want it for personal reasons, too: I’m allergic to morphine, and having watched a friend with terminal cancer struggle horribly with pain that was only relieved by morphine, I’m terrified of being in a place one day where I can’t relieve my pain.

And marijuana is helpful for people living with chronic illness, like multiple sclerosis. In fact, Senator Linda Holmes of the 42nd district, who suffers from MS, spoke in favor of the bill. MS is one of the diseases listed in the tightly written bill whose sufferers could obtain a prescription for medical marijuana.

According to news reports, Holmes defended the bill, noting that many medical organizations support the use of the drug for the relief of symptoms stemming from illness. She also pointed out that there are prescription drugs already on the market that are among the most addictive.

But then Senator Holmes went south.

According to the Daily Herald, Holmes said, “To every adult woman here, who’s worried about being a little tired or wanting to lose a little weight, pop that Ritalin. It’ll do the trick for ya. Do don’t tell me that one’s being abused.”

There are so many things wrong in that sentence one hardly knows where to begin.

The slam against adult women, most of whom are mothers? The overreaching generalization about women abusing prescription drugs to lose weight? The sly snark against people with ADHD?

If she wanted to use examples of prescription drug misuse, what about college students who abuse ADHD drugs? Or baseball dads who filch pain pills from their elderly parents, or everyday people from ages 18-80 who simply abuse prescription drugs, period?

For that matter, why didn’t she include men in that comment? Why not just “adults”? Why “adult women”?

Senator Holmes made the argument for legalization that many, including myself have made. Properly controlled, marijuana can and should be a tool in a medician’s toolbox, just as other drugs are, to alleviate symptoms and provide relief to patients. But when you’re arguing for the legalization of medical marijuana on the basis of medical need and compassion, is throwing a whole group of people under the bus the way to go?

Is that the best you’ve got?

I’m sick and tired of politicians and comedians and millenials making the mom jokes, because that’s really what that was. She merely substituted “adult women” for “moms.”

And the mothers who took their children to the doctor and school psychologist and independent psychologist and talked to teachers and learned new parenting structures and habits and thought long and hard before placing their son or daughter on an ADHD drug- do they deserve to get thrown under the bus to make a political point?

I know as many parents who have chosen not to put their child on Ritalin or Adderall as I have parents who took that route. I don’t know one- not one- adult woman (or man) who suddenly lost weight after their child went on an ADHD drug. I mean, seriously.

Linda Holmes was way out of line, and she should probably clarify her remarks. Last I heard, there were a lot of adult women in the 42nd.

And we vote.

This originally read “Soccer Moms” instead of “Adult Women”, based on a quote from Reuters. Thanks to the Daily Herald for the correction. -lucy

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