Lawmakers looking for opioid alternatives

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers have proposed an unusual plan to expand the use of medical marijuana as a way to fight the state's growing opioid crisis.

The plan is on the governor's desk. It would allow individuals who qualify for opioid prescriptions to apply for the state's medical cannabis program. It also removes some of the bureaucracy in applying to the program, which is considered the country's most restrictive.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the sponsor of the proposal in the House. The Chicago Democrat says it's a less-addictive alternative to treating pain and could be a remedy to the growing number of opioid overdoses across the state.

 Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has fought previous efforts to give patients with conditions prescribed with opioids access to medical marijuana.

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