Dem Lawmakers Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor tour state to discuss medical marijuana.

By - Nov 2nd, 2017 12:18 pm
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, military veteran Andrea Roberts and State Rep. Chris Taylor. Photo by Dave Fidlin.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, military veteran Andrea Roberts and State Rep. Chris Taylor. Photo by Dave Fidlin.

Efforts to advance bills legalizing medical marijuana have continuously stalled this year, but state lawmakers are undaunted as they make stops across Wisconsin to lay out the reasons behind their proposal.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) have visited the Milwaukee area this week to discuss why they continue to support bills that would allow patients access to cannabis with the caveat that a doctor’s prescription is attached to it.

Erpenbach and Taylor introduced Senate Bill 38 and Assembly Bill 75, respectively, in February. To date, no action has been taken within the capitol on either bills in legislative committees.

During a visit Monday at the McCarty Park Pavilion in West Allis, Erpenbach and Taylor held a forum to discuss the rationale behind the bills.

In a fitting nod to Veterans Day, much of the discussion focused on how the legalization of medical marijuana would assist members of the military suffering from a series of physical, mental and emotional conditions.

Andrea Roberts was among the military veterans who asserted medical marijuana would help with her conditions. Roberts, a disabled veteran, co-founded a group known as Wisconsin Veterans for Compassionate Care.

“There’s been a campaign to make (medical marijuana) look worse than it is,” Roberts said. “There’s something very unpatriotic about me having to come here and beg for medication.”

Roberts and other military veterans who would like the law enacted took aim at lawmakers against legalizing medical marijuana.

“If they are not supporting this medical marijuana bill they are against veterans — point blank,” Roberts said. “We need officials who say they are for something to follow through with their actions.”

At a time when the war against addictions to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids is more pronounced than ever, military veteran Steve Acheson said time is of the essence to make cannabis accessible for medicinal purposes.

Acheson, who served in the Iraq War from 2004 to 2008, said he has been prescribed scores of medications to address a range of physical issues. Since being honorably discharged, Acheson said he has struggled with anxiety, sleeplessness and depression.

The range of pills doctors have prescribed have, as Acheson described them, left him “in a zombie state.”

“We need access to an alternative,” Acheson said.

For their part, Erpenbach and Taylor said they have been fighting hard to work against some of the stigmas attached to marijuana use.

The state’s overall attitudes about marijuana use — especially for medicinal purposes — might be changing, Erpenbach suggested. At Monday’s forum, he pointed to polling data revealing 75 percent of Wisconsinites would support the bills if doctors are involved.

Erpenbach defended the bills introduced early this year, saying there have been numerous safeguards put in place.

“You would have to have a relationship with a doctor,” Erpenbach said at Monday’s forum. “If the doctor doesn’t think it’s a good idea … it won’t be available.”

Erpenbach and other supporters of the proposal also attempted to poke holes in the theory that medical marijuana prescribed under the guidance of a physician would serve as a gateway drug to other forms of medication.

“This is not going to lead to overdoses of heroin,” he said.

Categories: Health, Politics

9 thoughts on “Dem Lawmakers Push To Legalize Medical Marijuana”

  1. Brian Kelly says:

    When a loved one is wasting away unable to eat due to Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome, or Multiple Sclerosis, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    Nobody can deny the Medical effectiveness of Medical Marijuana.

    Below is a small sampling of quotes and a list of just a few of the many Professional Medical Organizations Worldwide that attest to Medical Marijuana’s effectiveness and Support Legal Access to and Use of Medical Marijuana.

    Along with the thirty U.S states that have already legalized medical marijuana.

    Are they ALL wrong?

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

    International and National Organizations

    AIDS Action Council
    AIDS Treatment News
    American Academy of Family Physicians
    American Medical Student Association
    American Nurses Association
    American Preventive Medical Association
    American Public Health Association
    American Society of Addiction Medicine
    Arthritis Research Campaign (United Kingdom)
    Australian Medical Association (New South Wales) Limited
    Australian National Task Force on Cannabis
    Belgian Ministry of Health
    British House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology
    British House of Lords Select Committee On Science and Technology (Second Report)
    British Medical Association
    Canadian AIDS Society
    Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs
    Dr. Dean Edell (surgeon and nationally syndicated radio host)
    French Ministry of Health
    Health Canada
    Kaiser Permanente
    Lymphoma Foundation of America
    The Montel Williams MS Foundation
    Multiple Sclerosis Society (Canada)
    The Multiple Sclerosis Society (United Kingdom)
    National Academy of Sciences Institute Of Medicine (IOM)
    National Association for Public Health Policy
    National Nurses Society on Addictions
    Netherlands Ministry of Health
    New England Journal of Medicine
    New South Wales (Australia) Parliamentary Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes
    Dr. Andrew Weil (nationally recognized professor of internal medicine and founder of the National Integrative Medicine Council)

    State and Local Organizations

    Alaska Nurses Association
    Being Alive: People With HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
    California Academy of Family Physicians
    California Nurses Association
    California Pharmacists Association
    Colorado Nurses Association
    Connecticut Nurses Association
    Florida Governor’s Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS
    Florida Medical Association
    Hawaii Nurses Association
    Illinois Nurses Association
    Life Extension Foundation
    Medical Society of the State of New York
    Mississippi Nurses Association
    New Jersey State Nurses Association
    New Mexico Medical Society
    New Mexico Nurses Association
    New York County Medical Society
    New York State Nurses Association
    North Carolina Nurses Association
    Rhode Island Medical Society
    Rhode Island State Nurses Association
    San Francisco Mayor’s Summit on AIDS and HIV
    San Francisco Medical Society
    Vermont Medical Marijuana Study Committee
    Virginia Nurses Association
    Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)
    Wisconsin Nurses Association

    Additional AIDS Organizations

    The following organizations are signatories to a February 17, 1999 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “make marijuana legally available … to people living with AIDS.”

    AIDS Action Council
    AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    AIDS National Interfaith Network (Washington, DC)
    AIDS Project Arizona
    AIDS Project Los Angeles
    Being Alive: People with HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego, CA)
    Boulder County AIDS Project (Boulder, CO)
    Colorado AIDS Project
    Center for AIDS Services (Oakland, CA)
    Health Force: Women and Men Against AIDS (New York, NY)
    Latino Commission on AIDS
    Mobilization Against AIDS (San Francisco, CA)
    Mothers Voices to End AIDS (New York, NY)
    National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Association
    National Native American AIDS Prevention Center
    Northwest AIDS Foundation
    People of Color Against AIDS Network (Seattle, WA)
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC)

    Other Health Organizations

    The following organizations are signatories to a June 2001 letter to the US Department of Health petitioning the federal government to “allow people suffering from serious illnesses … to apply to the federal government for special permission to use marijuana to treat their symptoms.”

    Addiction Treatment Alternatives
    AIDS Treatment Initiatives (Atlanta, GA)
    American Public Health Association
    American Preventive Medical Association
    Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights (San Francisco, CA)
    California Legislative Council for Older Americans
    California Nurses Association
    California Pharmacists Association
    Embrace Life (Santa Cruz, CA)
    Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
    Hawaii Nurses Association
    Hepatitis C Action and Advisory Coalition
    Life Extension Foundation
    Maine AIDS Alliance
    Minnesota Nurses Association
    Mississippi Nurses Association
    National Association of People with AIDS
    National Association for Public Health Policy
    National Women’s Health Network
    Nebraska AIDS Project
    New Mexico Nurses Association
    New York City AIDS Housing Network
    New York State Nurses Association Ohio Patient Network Okaloosa AIDS Support and Information Services (Fort Walton, FL)
    Physicians for Social Responsibility – Oregon
    San Francisco AIDS Foundation
    Virginia Nurses Association
    Wisconsin Nurses Association

    Health Organizations Supporting Medical Marijuana Research

    International and National Organizations

    American Cancer Society
    American Medical Association
    British Medical Journal
    California Medical Association
    California Society on Addiction Medicine
    Congress of Nursing Practice
    Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
    Jamaican National Commission on Ganja
    National Institutes of Health (NIH) Workshop on the Medical Utility of Marijuana
    Texas Medical Association
    Vermont Medical Society
    Wisconsin State Medical Society

  2. Jim says:

    We passed medical way back in 1998 in WA State. No need to get your undies in bunch Wisconsin ! The sky has not fallen. We have the best economy in the USA and Seattle has half the violent crime of Milwaukee. How far behind the times is Wisconsin? Or perhaps the state is simply too drunk to end this farcical charade and abominable failure known as reefer Prohibition? Wisconsin is a sad quandary.

  3. Tim Reynolds says:

    We need to get the bill passed into law. I have MS and my wife has Crimes. This would help use both out. Also this needs to become mainstream. Front door of the office please.
    Thanks to all that care for us,
    Tim Reynolds. 55 year old man in a very broken body.

  4. Terry says:

    Why do big government Republicans like Walker hate feeedom so much? Legalize it!!

  5. Tom says:

    Let’s move Wisconsin FORWARD. Dump Walker and Vote Democrat in November!

  6. Bella Dushner says:

    In my opinion its already 2018, and i think cannabis should be legalized in most of the country right now. Not only for giving them what they want but the cannabis help us in our daily routine. No wonder why many people allow marijuana to be legalized. And as i read here that most of the country used marijuana in medical purpose, they also used CBD oil and they used it as an ingredients to the food. So why marijuana cant be legalized?

  7. MKE Kid says:

    If Weed, Inc. would give Walker and his cabal a half mil “contribution,” cannabis would’ve been legalized in WI yesterday.

  8. Tom says:

    Every state surrounding Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and now even Iowa as well as all of Canada has a medical cannabis program, some 35 states have either medical or fully legal adult use markets, everybody except Wisconsin, despite the fact that over 60% of Wisconsinites support full legalization and 90% support medical. Why is that? There is only one reason and one reason alone. REPUBLICANS. Anyone who has been paying attention over the years knows that Republicans have blocked each and every attempt to legalize cannabis. Vukmir and Kleefisch wouldn’t even let the Democrat’s bills out of committee! That’s right. Walker and Republicans hate Democrat’s so much they let their partisan hatred stop people from getting the safe, effective medicine they need, oftentimes to survive. There is a reason so many people are fleeing Walker’s crazy right-wing version of Wisconsin. We must vote Walker and all Republicans out of office in November. Once we finally get them out of office, we can finally move Wisconsin forward on this issue and many, many others. It’s simple, once Walker and Repuicans are out, cannabis is in. Get out and vote DEMOCRAT Wisconsin and let’s LEGALIZE IT!!

  9. Ahmed says:

    More adults in the US than ever are using cannabis in some form- here’s my source yet still no availability here. Feels like a lot more fighting to do yet.

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