Medical Marijuana is officially legal in Illinois. With his signature, Governor Pat Quinn kicked off a pilot program that allows doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with some chronic diseases.
It is one of the most restrictive programs in nation--requiring patients and caregivers to undergo background checks and limiting patients to purchasing 2 and-a-half ounces of marijuana at a time. A network of dispensaries and growers will be regulated by the state.
The medical marijuana will be taxed at the same 1% rate as other pharmaceuticals. There will also be a tax on grow facilities and dispensaries of 7%. The planned 22 grow facilities will each hire no more than 10 employees. The state of Illinois expects hundreds of new jobs in related industries to be created.
The new law also bans campaign contributions from operators of cultivation centers and dispensaries.
The law takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is a four-year pilot program.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Lottery is allowing people who have a gambling problem to voluntarily ban themselves for life.
People who participate will be prohibited from claiming winnings of $600 or more. The option started Thursday, and officials say it is modeled after self-exclusion programs in Illinois, Iowa and Maryland.
Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Scheve Reardon says the $600 figure was chosen because lottery winnings of that amount or more are claimed at one of the lottery's regional offices. She says enforcement at 5,000 retail locations would be impossible.
To enact a self-ban, people will sign, notarize and submit an agreement to the Missouri Lottery. Officials will keep a database to be checked when someone comes to claim a prize. Those who have banned themselves will be denied payment.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State Fair attendees will be seeing new features as well as old-standbys at the 10-day event that begins Aug. 8.
The fried novelty of the year will be Oreo cookies encased in cookie dough and battered and then deep-fried.
Spokesman Jeff Squibb says the fair's $5.5 million operations budget increased slightly compared to last year. Admission prices will stay flat, with adults paying $7 and $3 for children.
The Budweiser Clydesdales are a new daily presence at the fair, with a daily parade at 4 p.m.
The music series lineup includes evening performances by Toby Keith and Kip Moore, Ke$ha, John Mayer and Journey.
Attendees are encouraged to record videos reciting the Gettysburg Address to help celebrate the fair's 150th anniversary.
The fair runs through Aug. 18.
The deadline for families to apply to send their youngsters to an accredited school district is fast approaching.
Applications for student transfers from the Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts are due Thursday. Over two-thousand students from the two failing school districts have applied for transfer into the Francis Howell, Mehville and Kirkwood districts.
This action is a result of a recent Supreme Court ruling, stating that students in unaccredited districts have the right to transfer to higher performing school districts within the same county or in a neighboring county.
An argument between neighbors ends after an hours-long standoff.
The incident started around 7:30 this morning in the Mark Twain neighborhood of North St. Louis. A man started arguing with his 63-year-old neighbor, when the older man got a gun and shot at the victim's home. The victim went into his house and called police. The elderly man went back into his home and grabbed a machete to threaten his neighbor with. When police arrived, the machete-wielding neighbor went back into his home.
Two hours later, he surrendered to police. No one was injured in the incident.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Supporters of a Missouri initiative to restrict passengers on motorcycles can begin collecting signatures to get the proposal on the 2014 ballot.
The secretary of state's office announced Wednesday that the petition met standards for circulation. Proponents have until next May to collect enough signatures to get the proposal before voters.
The proposal would require Missouri motorcycle operators to be at least 21 and complete a rider-safety class before they could carry passengers. The restrictions would not apply to those who have had had a motorcycle license for the previous two years and were born in 1984 or earlier.
The first violation would be a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $300. Penalties would increase for repeat offenses.
ALTON, Ill. (AP) - A southwestern Illinois man is jailed on $1 million bond after being accused of sexually assaulting a girl for about three years.
The (Alton) Telegraph reports Madison County prosecutors charged 48-year-old Jack Garrett of Alton with eight counts of predatory sexual assault of a child and five counts of criminal sexual assault of a child.
The charges related to alleged sexual conduct when the girl was between 11 and 13 years old, from February 2001 and July of this year.
A spokeswoman for the county state's attorney's office says the investigation began when the girl reported the allegations to a family member, who then notified authorities.
PARK HILLS, Mo. (AP) - Authorities in the area around the eastern Missouri town of Park Hills are investigating four suspicious fires in the past two weeks.
The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills (http://bit.ly/18SnwpQ ) reports the latest fire was early Wednesday at an abandoned home near Bismarck. The owner said no one had lived there for two decades. The home was fully engulfed in fire by the time firefighters arrived.
The other three fires also occurred in abandoned buildings - in a rural area along Missouri Route D, in Doe Run and at a two-story building in Park Hills.
A St. Peters woman is accused of leaving a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib and tying the girl to the garage. 37-year-old Cheryl Dudley face eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, along with one count of child abuse. Neighbors called police when they saw the child tied to the garage. In the house, officers say they found a loaded rifle in the toddler’s crib. Dudley allegedly said she put it there after hearing noises in her back yard but forgot to take it out after realizing nobody was there. There were also allegedly drugs in a dresser in a house and the house was in deplorable condition.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party plans to step down from the leadership post next month.
Mike Sanders was elected state party chairman in November 2011 and was re-elected in January. He also is serving his second term as Jackson County executive.
Sanders announced his plan to step down in a statement Wednesday from the Missouri Democratic Party. He says he looks forward to working with the next chairman to advance the state and party.
The Democratic Party plans to select a new party leader during the state committee's meeting Aug. 24 at a hotel in Jefferson City.