Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wisconsin Wants Marijuana!

Wisconsin Democrats support medical marijuana

By SCOTT BAUER Associated Press Writer

3:15 p.m. CST, November 16, 2009

MADISON, Wis. - Legalizing medical marijuana will ease the cancer
patients' pain and help others who are suffering, supporters of
legalization argued Monday.

Two Democratic state lawmakers, advocates and those fighting chronic
diseases said at a news conference there is momentum nationwide to
decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

They pointed to Gov. Jim Doyle's comments last month in support of
legalizing medical marijuana for people who have a doctor's
prescription. Also, the American Medical Association called last week
for a federal review of marijuana's status as a controlled substance to
make it easier to do research that could lead to development of
marijuana-based medicines.

Everyone knows someone who would benefit if the law were changed, said
Jacki Rickert, founder of "Is My Medicine Legal Yet?" She suffers from
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and reflexive sympathetic dystrophy, bone and
joint diseases that limit movement and lead to painful muscle spasms.
Marijuana eases the pain, she said.

Rickert, 58, has lobbied more than a decade to legalize medical
marijuana in Wisconsin. She was arrested in 2000 when Mondovi police
raided her home and confiscated marijuana. The district attorney later
declined to press charges.

"We're not criminals, we're just people trying to get on with our
lives," said Gary Storck, who said he starting using marijuana in 1972
to treat his glaucoma and arthritis.

A similar bill was introduced in the Legislature in 2002 but did not

Under the measure co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen.
Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, a person would need a prescription from a
doctor to receive marijuana, which could either be grown at home or
obtained through a licensed nonprofit dispensary. The state would keep a
registry of both those who can receive and dispense marijuana.

The Department of Health Services could not estimate how many people
would qualify for marijuana prescriptions, according to the fiscal
estimate for the bill. Seventeen of 132 lawmakers have signed on in

"This law needs to be changed," Rickert said. "We can't wait any

Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana, according to the
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Wisconsin
bill is up for a hearing Dec. 15, and Erpenbach said the goal was to
have it voted on sometime in January.

The governor said last month that he had no problem with the use of
marijuana to treat severe pain and other medical conditions, if it's
prescribed by a doctor. Restricting the use of medical marijuana makes
no sense when doctors can already prescribe more dangerous drugs, such
as morphine, he said.

Doyle's comments come after a decision by the Obama administration not
to prosecute users and suppliers of medical marijuana in the states
where it's been legalized. The decision is a clear break from the
policies of the Bush administration and another sign pointed to by
backers of Wisconsin's bill that the attitude toward medical marijuana
is changing.

http://www.chicagot ribune.com/ news/chi- ap-wi-xgr- medicalmariju, 0,5709926\

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