WI: Erpenbach Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana In State

Discussion in 'The Drug War Headline News' started by Dedbr, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. Dedbr Dedbr

    • Domestic War Veteran
    • Since: Mar 24, 2001
    • Posts: 21,228
    WI: Erpenbach Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana In State

    Erpenbach bill would legalize medical marijuana in state -- GazetteXtra /David Moore/ 12-06-09


    JANESVILLE — Sen. Jon Erpenbach said his push to legalize marijuana for medical use is about compassion.
    "Why does somebody have to break the law to go and get a very good medicine for their system and is less trying on their system than anything else has been?" the Middleton Democrat asked.
    Erpenbach, whose district covers western Rock County, recently introduced the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act with co-sponsor Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison.
    "Nobody's opening the door to the slippery slope of (legalizing) drug use. It's more an issue of compassion and pain management," he said.
    Rep. Steve Nass, R-La Grange, isn't convinced.
    "I am opposed to this legislation," Nass said.
    "The sponsors of this bill are ignoring the concerns of both medical professionals and law enforcement. The Wisconsin State Medical Society opposes this legislation because it attempts to proceed in advance of legitimate scientific research into the medical benefits of marijuana. In order to justify legalization, the medical benefits must be validated by both scientific and medical experts," Nass said.
    "The use of marijuana for medical purposes should be about medicine, not a political agenda," Nass said.
    When asked, other area legislators declined to take sides on the issue, saying they will wait to hear the debate and from constituents.
    Discussion on the bill starts when a joint health committee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15.
    "My goal is to get it out of my committee to have a vote on the floor this spring," said Erpenbach, who chairs the Senate health committee.

    How it would work

    The bill would legalize marijuana only for medical purposes, and users would need notes from doctors.
    People with debilitating medical conditions or treatments would be eligible. Conditions include cancer, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, AIDS, HIV and posttraumatic stress disorder.
    The state Department of Health Services would create a process to extend the list, Erpenbach said.
    Qualifying patients with doctors' notes could grow their own marijuana or obtain it from "compassion centers" around the state, he said.
    The state Department of Health Services would create rules for a registry of people allowed to use medical marijuana and for licensing and regulation of a non-profit corporation to distribute marijuana.
    Erpenbach points to San Francisco, where marijuana shops popped up on seemingly every corner, as an example of what it wouldn't be, he said.
    The bill would regulate how much marijuana a patient could have—up to 12 plants and 3 ounces of leaves or flowers.
    Users would be restricted on where they could use marijuana, basically limiting it to their homes, and they wouldn't be able to drive after use.
    "These are pretty sick people," Erpenbach said. "(It's) situations where it's not like they're going to a bar and smoking it. You're pretty much going to be in a home."

    Reaction

    Reaction since the bill's introduction has been positive, Erpenbach said. He's spoken with legislators who are leery, but others—who might have been seen as dead-set against it—are open to the idea, he said.
    Thirteen states allow medical marijuana, or medical cannabis, and Wisconsin is among 17 states where legislation has been in the works.
    Janesville Police Chief David Moore questioned the impact for officers.
    "I'm concerned that if medical marijuana is allowed, that the laws are carefully developed so officers on the street are able to make conclusive decisions as to the legal or illegal possession of the drug," he said.
    Moore is also concerned about the message that legalizing medical marijuana could send to children.
    "My concern is I wouldn't want to send a mixed message to our youth that marijuana is not harmful," he said.
    Janesville officers have not encountered any medical use of marijuana cases, Moore said, but they generally aren't staking out homes of cancer patients.
    Tim of Janesville is among area residents advocating for the bill. A few months ago, Tim, 32, met with staffers for Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, and Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, at the Capitol.
    "To deny (a patient) a better quality of life as they die, that's inhumane. It should be criminal," he said.
    Tim started drinking at age 15 and became an alcoholic, leading to problems in his life. He used marijuana as a crutch when he quit drinking about four years ago, he said, and his regular use has "yet to cause a negative on my life."
    He smokes recreationally, but he said taking four or five hits at night helps him fall asleep because prescription medication doesn't help ease the pain from two bulging discs in his back.
    He's been an outspoken advocate for legalized marijuana in GazetteXtra story comments under the username "thekid3477." Other readers have e-mailed him to indicate their support for medical use—from "hard-core Republicans to cancer patients," he said.

    Momentum

    Earlier this year, the Obama administration directed federal prosecutors to not seek arrests of medical marijuana users as along as they follow state laws.
    The American Medical Association also changed course, pushing for more research and urging the federal government to remove marijuana from its classification that equates it with heroin.
    In Wisconsin, Gov. Jim Doyle has said he would sign the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act if it makes it to his desk.
    Erpenbach urges people to keep an open mind and talk to someone who's dealing with cancer or another debilitating disease.
    "This impacts them only," he said.
    The bill wouldn't make drug use more prevalent, he said.
    "We're taking what a lot of families have decided to do—risk arrest and so on—to help out their family members," he said.
    "In this situation, I don't see anything wrong with that at all."

    OTHER REPRESENTATIVES REACT

    Rep. Chuck Benedict, D-Beloit: "The Obama Administration recently announced a change in policy related to medical marijuana in so much as they will focus on those who traffic drugs and not those who dispense marijuana for medical purposes.
    "This change could impact state laws, not just in Wisconsin, but all over the country. As a retired physician, I do know that marijuana does offer medical benefits for some patients who require pain management and anti-nausea treatments. AB554 will be before the Assembly Public Health Committee, which I chair, on Dec. 15th, and I am looking forward to hearing the debate."
    Rep. Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater: "This legislation is still in a very early stage of the legislative process. I am not a member of the Assembly Committee on Public Health, where this bill has been referred and has yet to receive a public hearing. Until this legislation reaches the Assembly floor, I will continue to focus on creating and retaining jobs in our area, which remains my No. 1 priority."
    Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit: "I am going to keep an open mind about this legislation. I look forward to hearing the testimony from doctors, specialists in pain management, and law enforcement."
    Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville: "The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act was only recently introduced and referred to the Committee on Public Health and has several legislative hurdles to clear before it could be considered by the Assembly. A public hearing has been scheduled, and at that time people will have their first opportunity to speak out for or against the bill. I welcome input from my constituents on the Medical Marijuana Act, and will consider their opinions as I review this legislation."

    (Nice article I believe, especially with all the reps speaking out......;).....Ded......)
    1 people like this.
  2. metanoia metanoia

    • Smoke. Weed.
    • Since: Oct 7, 2009
    • Posts: 1,947
    Wisconsin is leaving out so many illnesses weed helps with too! :(
    1 people like this.
  3. Freshness420 Freshness420

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Nov 10, 2009
    • Posts: 1,767

    Yeah I have been researching weed for a school project and it can help depression, ADD, ADHD, arthritis, bipolar disorder, among many others. I personally would like to see this pass. Because I think that once it becomes medically legal in all states everyone will realize how it really isn't that medically bad and more studies will be given. And I believe that that could lead to states wanting to get more money from it and legalizing it medically. Or well I hope that is how this whole thing plays out.
  4. metanoia metanoia

    • Smoke. Weed.
    • Since: Oct 7, 2009
    • Posts: 1,947
    Personally I believe one state with out medical marijuana needs to try to legalize marijuana. Seriously in my opinion trying to make marijuana from medicinal to legal is like trying to legalize oxycotton. No matter how good weed is for you we need to push a non mmj state through to legalize. That's just my theory. None of what I said should be politically quoted or stated.
  5. woodstockthebird woodstockthebird

    • New Member
    • Since: Dec 7, 2009
    • Posts: 42
    Proud Sconnie

    Since going to college in Minnesota I have found that the herb laws here are a lot more lax than in Wisconsin. But I am so proud of my home state for getting this thing moving. I am in school for Pre-Med and when I become a physician I would love to be able to prescribe this drug to patients to improve quality of life. I don't think anyone can doubt how much this drug gives to those with ailments and it is criminal NOT to give it to them.
  6. DoobieBrother DoobieBrother

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Feb 28, 2009
    • Posts: 1,006
    This bill, this time!

    We can do it, Wisconsin!
  7. hotwateronwool hotwateronwool

    • New Member
    • Since: Oct 4, 2009
    • Posts: 32
    "In order to justify legalization, the medical benefits must be validated by both scientific and medical experts," Nass said.

    i completely agree Mr. Nass. lets find out the TRUTH about marijuana once and for all. test it.

    but these tests cant be "i think marijuana will hurt us." and go out and find one thing that could POSSIBLY harm us and ignore all of the good and blow that one bad thing out of proportion.

    get these tests over with and make a fair and honest decision about its legal status so we don't have to listen to your ignorant and outdated claims.

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