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Illinois Considers Upping Penalties for High-Potency Marijuana

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Legislators in Illinois are considering a bill that would increase penalties for marijuana containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the Chicago Sun Times reported June 13.

The bill would increase penalties for sale or distribution of marijuana that contains more than 15 percent THC, the plant's main psychoactive ingredient.

“The amount of THC that teenagers are being exposed to is very different than the marijuana you may have run across in the 1960s or 1970s,” Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said.

Bill opponents fear that the legislation would create problems for medical-marijuana patients.

“He's saying we want you to use the lower grade stuff — so you have to smoke more just to get the same amount of relief,” said Bryan Brickner, a co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws.

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