-Illinois
4:57 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Durbin: No Need Yet For National Policy On Medical Marijuana

Credit durbin.senate.gov

Illinois' senior Senator is wary of the feds going along with legalizing medical marijuana. Even in the states where it is legal, the restrictions on marijuana vary widely. In Colorado, no doctor's order is needed - recreational pot smoking is allowed. Illinois is on the other end of the spectrum; state officials say they've written the strictest regulations in the nation. 

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he wants to see how the states deal with medical marijuana before the federal government goes that route.  

"We have to deal with the sentencing on drug offenses.  We have gone too far. We are filling our prisons beyond any imaginable level.  We are spending billions of dollars to house prisoners who are of no danger to this country." - Senator Dick Durbin

Durbin on Thomson Prison

Durbin says he will keep his promise to keep Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to the prison in Thomson, in northwestern Illinois.  Durbin - a Democrat - has long maintained convicted and suspected terrorists will pose no danger; he says some are already being held at a federal prison in Marion.  Durbin recently met with the head of the federal prison bureau about Thomson.  The state built the correctional center in 2001 but never had the money to open it; the feds bought it last fall and are moving forward with turning it into a federal penitentiary.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.