SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – Illinois lawmakers are turning to marijuana to fight opioid abuse.

The Senate voted 44-6 Thursday to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids . Those addicted to opioids would also be eligible to apply for a medical card to use marijuana.

Senator Don Harmon is the sponsor of the plan. The Oak Park Democrat says the measure would combat an opioid crisis “ravaging the state.”

The legislation would expand access to what’s considered one of the more restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country.

A Cook County circuit court ruling in February expanded use of medical marijuana for the condition known as Intractable Pain Disease. It previously had been treated with opioids. The Illinois Department of Public Health appealed the decision.

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