By a vote of 29 to 22, the Illinois Senate has rejected a bill that would have allowed patients with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other debilitating conditions to use marijuana for symptom relief:

Julie Falco is one of those people. An MS survivor, she testified before lawmakers earlier this year, saying she mixes marijuana into her brownie batches to help subdue her pain. The Chicago resident and others swear by the drug, claiming it eases discomfort and boosts their appetite.

"I don't think sick people should be treated like criminals," said state Sen. John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat and sponsor of the plan.

Opponents worried that their support would signal they're soft on crime.

But they're perfectly happy to signal that they're hard on cancer, AIDS, and MS patients.