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Thread: WI Medical Marijuana bill

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    WI Medical Marijuana bill

    Feature: Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Introduced

    from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #502, 9/21/07

    Ten years ago Tuesday, Wisconsin medical marijuana patient Jacki Rickert led a 210-mile trek of wheelchair-bound patients to the state capitol in Madison in a "Journey for Justice" seeking legal access to the medicine they said made their lives bearable. This Tuesday, Rickert commemorated that anniversary with a press conference at the capitol, where she was joined by two state representatives who announced they would introduce a medical marijuana bill this session. They are calling it the "Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act."

    With a history of failed medical marijuana bills in the state and a legislature with one house controlled by Republicans, proponents are not predicting certain victory this session, but they do say they will give it their best shot.
    Jacki Rickert and Gary Storck, with Jim and the late Cheryl Miller, outside former Rep. Bob Barr's office (
    While medical marijuana is legal in 12 states, a victory in Wisconsin would be the first in the Midwest. But Wisconsin will have to hustle to be the first; legislative efforts have already advanced in Illinois and Minnesota, and Michigan looks to be set for a statewide initiative in November 2008.

    If Reps. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and Mark Pocan (D-Madison) have their way, Wisconsin will be in the thick of the race. "We want to make sure that this is the year Wisconsin gets it," Boyle said at the Tuesday press conference. "Twelve states have now legalized medical marijuana, and I'm sick and tired of the state of Wisconsin dying a most regressive death in what used to be progressive tradition."

    While the measure is still in the drafting stage, according to a cosponsoring memo being circulated by Boyle and Pocan, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act's key provisions include the following:

    * Provide a medical necessity defense to marijuana-related prosecutions and property seizure actions. A person may evoke this defense if they are undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment and have written consent from their physician or obtained a valid registry ID card from the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS). Conditions include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or HIV, diseases that cause wasting away, severe pain or nausea, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms, and any other medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by DHFS.
    * Create a maximum authorized amount of marijuana a patient may have, thus establishing clear limits for both patients and law enforcement officials.
    * Prohibit the arrest of a physician who provides a written certification in good faith. Also, the primary caregiver is protected by the same exceptions under the law.
    * The defense may not be applicable if the patient performs an illegal act while using marijuana. This includes driving or operating a motor vehicle, operating heavy machinery, smoking near a school, park or youth center, at a person's employment, etc.
    * Require DHFS to establish a registry for medical users of marijuana and an ID card to a qualifying patient.
    * This bill only changes state law regarding marijuana. Federal law on marijuana does not change. However, 99% of marijuana arrests are made by state and local officials, not federal officials.

    "If someone has the written consent of their physician or has obtained a valid registry card from DHFS, they would be allowed to have the possession or be able to grow a certain amount of medicinal marijuana," Pocan explained.

    "Please, we have to make this legal," Rickert told the press conference. "I beg all of you. We know it works. We know it's not going to kill us," Rickert said. "I have never had an allergic reaction to a God-given herb."

    Rickert wasn't the only patient speaking Tuesday. A 21-year-old, who called herself only Lynn, said she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years earlier, and lost her sight, mobility and independence from the disease. Lynn told the crowd smoking medical marijuana worked on her symptoms when nothing else did, eventually allowing her to be well enough to live on her own.

    "If you had a 19-year-old daughter who was in pain every day, what would you do to help?" Lynn asked. "You could be put on five different drugs three times a day every day, like I was. Or you can take pot, and now I'm on two drugs a day."

    Another patient, J.F. Oschwald of Colorado, addressed the press conference from his wheelchair. "Medicine is medicine and if they can regulate morphine then they can regulate marijuana," he said.

    "This was a nice start," said medical marijuana patient Gary Storck, who, along with Rickert, is a cofounder of the Wisconsin medical marijuana advocacy group Is My Medicine Legal Yet?. "We had a number of patients speak, as well as Boyle and Pocan, and we got some good media coverage," he told the Chronicle.

    Responses at the capitol have grown less frosty than a decade ago, Storck said. "When I go up there lobbying with patients, I'm seeing changed attitudes. We're being well-received, and you can see that some of the staffers are really affected. It looks like this is finally gaining some legs," he said.

    Part of the change in attitude is due to the educational efforts of medical marijuana activists and proponents, said Storck. "Patients are more willing to come out and let their stories be told, and that only helps," he said. "The fact that other states are passing it or coming close to passing it helps, too. We're ringed by states where they're already a little closer."

    But with Republicans controlling the state Assembly, it will be a difficult battle this two-year session, he said. "We've got an agreement from one senator to hold an informational hearing in November, but I'm afraid this will just be caught up in politics as usual this session. I'm hoping the Democrats will take back the Assembly next year -- that would really improve our chances. Gov. Doyle has already said he will sign a medical marijuana bill," Storck added.

    Still, Storck, Rickert, IMMLY and other medical marijuana supporters aren't waiting for next year. "There's always the hope the legislature will come to its senses," he said. "Legislators have until October 4 to sign on as cosponsors, and we're hoping a senator or two will sign on so it can move. While we think we'll have better luck with a Democrat-controlled legislature, we will continue to push now."
    Feature: Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Introduced | Stop the Drug War (DRCNet)

    October 23, 2007
    California physician, cannabinologist David Bearman MD to speak at Escape Coffee on Nov. 12

    Posted by Gary Storck
    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    The upcoming informational hearing on medical marijuana by the Wisconsin State Senate's Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), on Nov. 14, will bring three leading experts on medical cannabis to Madison.

    Two of the experts, 5th legal federal IND medical marijuana patient George McMahon and Dr. Chris Fichtner, a psychiatrist and former Director of Mental Health for the State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, will only be in Madison for the Nov. 14 hearing.

    The third, California physician and surgeon David Bearman, a UW alum and Rice Lake native, will be spending a few extra days in Madison.

    To take advantage of this opportunity, Madison NORML's next scheduled regular meeting will instead be a lecture by Dr. Bearman on California's 11-year old medical marijuana law and how cannabis figures in his medical practice in Santa Barbara CA. Dr. Bearman will also be discussing and signing copies of his new book, Demons, Discrimination and Dollars.

    What: Lecture, Reception and Book Signing for David Bearman MD

    When: Monday, November 12, 2007, 7:00 pm.

    Where: Escape Java Joint & Art Gallery 916 Williamson Street Madison, WI 53703
    Madison NORML: California physician, cannabinologist David Bearman MD to speak at Escape Coffee on Nov. 12

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  3. #2
    beachguy in thongs's Avatar
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    Hopefully, it catches this time. They've been talking about doing that for, at least, four or five years.

  4. #3
    Storm Crow's Avatar
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    Smile Good luck!

    If you want to do something, you might consider printing up my medical post (link below) and sending it to your local politicians! Better load up the printer, though- it's about 50 pages of listings of medical studies!

    I know, I keep telling you guys to print and send this thing I put together out to doctors and politicians. I expect that you all think I'm on a big ego trip about it. Not really- if I had found this thing on the net- collected by someone else- I'd still be saying "get that information out there, kids!" When enough people know the truth, change becomes inevitable.

    It is Criminal that using this amazing healing herb is a crime! I have never understood why a medicine couldn't be pleasant to take. And I know how much of a difference it has made in my life. Here's hoping you guys get to be state # 13! Hmmm... 13 rebellious states... sound familiar? - Granny
    "If the truth won't do, then something is wrong!"
    Granny's Grandpa- Rev. J. C. Schwabenland

    Need MMJ medical studies? Look here!

    Granny's list's on facebook-

    Want your own free copy of the list? email us-

  5. #4
    Psycho4Bud's Avatar
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    I sure hope this passes but I have my doubts. In the Madison/Milwaukee areas they are a bit more liberal than the rest of this redneck state. I live in a community of 60,000+ and the cops/community are hard core against our smoke for any purpose. That ol' reefer madness stigma.......

    Have a good one!

  6. #5
    MVP's Avatar
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    It seems that the most effective way to legalize MMJ is to take the measure to a public vote. Worked here in California, so I wish Michigan the best in their fight and hope that Wisconsin has the support of the citizens. If so a referendum may be the answer.

  7. #6
    wisco61 is offline Registered
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    Unfortunately not all states have voter referendums as part of their state constitution, WI being one of those. Its especially dissapointing because in a poll, 80% of WI residents were for medical marijuana usage.

    Wisconsin Poll Shows Support for Medical Marijuana
    Wisconsin Poll Shows Support for Medical Marijuana. Is My Medicine Legal Yet. June 2002.

    A public opinion poll commissioned by Wisconsin-based Is My Medicine Legal Yet (IMMLY) asked the question, "Would you support or oppose the Wisconsin State Legislature passing a law to allow seriously ill or terminally ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?" The poll found that statewide, 80.3 of respondents answered yes, 16% answered no, and 3.7% don't know/refused.
    Its the Republicans in the state senate that are preventing this from happening, the best thing we can do is try and get those dirty elephants out, which thankfully will probably be happening quite soon with the current political climate.

  8. #7
    Psycho4Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisco61 View Post
    Unfortunately not all states have voter referendums as part of their state constitution, WI being one of those. Its especially dissapointing because in a poll, 80% of WI residents were for medical marijuana usage.

    Its the Republicans in the state senate that are preventing this from happening, the best thing we can do is try and get those dirty elephants out, which thankfully will probably be happening quite soon with the current political climate.
    Dave Zein was a "dirty elephant" and considering his past.....I think your a bit off base on that one. What about the recent budget battle where the Dems want an extra $1.25/pack tax on cigs? Are these the same people you feel are going to pass this law?

    Have a good one!

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    Well, looks like another year with no relief for patients in WI... bah we need to get this lady out of office.

    October 24, 2007
    WI Assembly Speaker Huebsch assigns medical marijuana bill to Leah Vukmir’s Health committee to die

    Posted by Gary Storck
    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    I like to give people the benefit of a doubt. Just because past Republican Assembly Speakers including the morally bankrupt John Gard, the disgraced, convicted yet still unpunished Scott “Scooter” Jensen and even old Ben Brancel, have all assigned medical marijuana legislation to committees where they were assured the bill would die.

    Today, we learn that current Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch is just as callous about the health of sick and dying Wisconsinites as his predecessors, as we find that the “Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act” (AB 550), has been assigned to the Health and Healthcare Reform Committee chaired by arch-zealot Leah Vukmir click here. (try spell-checking her name in MS Word). Rep. Vukmir, (R-Wauwatosa), had vowed in a WI State Journal article in April to kill the bill if it was assigned to her committee:

    But Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, said she will continue her opposition to medical marijuana because of concerns about its safety.

    Vukmir, a nurse, said she believes it is better for patients to use medications that have been approved or may soon be available than to have people grow their own marijuana.

    "I will refuse to put members through the circus of a hearing for a bill that is not going to go anywhere," Vukmir said. "This is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana, which is not going to happen on my watch."

    Before the bill was assigned to committee, I attempted several times to arrange a meeting with Huebsch’s staff and state patients to ask that the bill be assigned to a different Assembly health committee, Public Health, chaired by Rep. J.A. “Doc” Hines’ (R-Oxford). Rep. Hines had promised to give the bill a hearing, as is his custom. Our pleas for a meeting went unanswered.

    This action is a slap in the face to the 80+% of Wisconsinites who support giving patients legal access click here. Speaker Huebsch has shown he’s a follower not a leader. He’s continued to play the same kind of hurtful partisan politics as Gard, Jensen, et al.

    It’s also unwise politically, given the fact Democrats are targeting Republican moderates like Hines as they try to overcome the GOP’s slim 3-seat majority in the Assembly next November. Rather than assigning the bill to a committee chaired by a moderate, where it might have a hearing and demonstrate that all Republicans aren’t cold-hearted fanatics, it goes to a committee chaired by an extremist who has already vowed to kill it.
    As far as Dems vs Republicans go, one just has to look at the cosponsors of the bill.

    The 2 sponsors and 11 cosponsors, 12 Democrats and 1 Republican, are as follows:

    Rep. Frank Boyle (D - Superior)
    Rep. Mark Pocan (D - Madison)
    Rep. Terese Berceau (D - Madison)
    Rep. Spencer Black (D - Madison)
    Rep. Tamara Grisgby (D- Milwaukee)
    Rep. Barbara Gronemus (D- Whitehall)
    Rep. Joe Parisi (D- Madison)
    Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts (D- Middleton)
    Rep. Marlin Schneider (D- WI Rapids)
    Rep. Gary Sherman (D- Port Wing)
    Rep. Dave Travis (D- Waunakee)
    Rep. Jeff Wood (R- Chippewa Falls)
    Rep. Josh Zepnick (D- Milwaukee)

  10. #9
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    Thanks for the update and I'm glad to see Jeff Woods is thinking right. He's the closest rep to me out of the bunch....actually a bit suprised on his vote regarding the attitudes around these parts.

    Hopefully Dave Zein runs again....I'd lay odds he's pro med-marijuana. I know he used to support recreational use.

    Have a good one!



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