State Is Ready for Medical Marijuana
Myths have been debunked. Health benefits are clear. Voters support it.
Jacki had been diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlo Syndrome. At one point, in a tremendous amount of pain, and down to a mere 68 pounds, she discovered that marijuana brought her appetite back and alleviated her pain. Seeing these results, in 1990, in Mondovi, WI, a physician wrote a prescription for Jacki to obtain marijuana, and enrolled her in a small federal program allowing its use for medical purposes. The trouble was, she was never able to legally access that medicine, so she and others started an advocacy and awareness campaigned called “Is my Medicine Legal Yet?”
When I introduced the first Senate companion with Rep. Pocan in 2009, as Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, we held a public hearing and people from across Wisconsin came to tell their heartbreaking stories. We heard from people with debilitating conditions who had found that opiates and other narcotics prescribed by physicians did little to alleviate their symptoms, and the side effects of those legal drugs were more than they could bear. Marijuana, however, had given them relief. Unfortunately, that is when they had to reluctantly break the law, becoming criminals for trying to obtain the one thing working to help them.
Back then, and even today, there are legislators who are not ready to allow medical marijuana to go forward, giving in to the many myths surrounding marijuana. However, as usual, the public is way ahead of the politicians. Last fall, nearly a million voters in 16 counties and two cities, answered yes on nonbinding referenda asking if marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use; and in my office the folder of contacts from people who support medical marijuana has grown so large it needs its own drawer in the file cabinet. Nationwide polling from Quinnipiac in the spring of 2018 showed 93% of Americans support medical marijuana and no state that has passed a medical marijuana program has ever repealed it.
Jacki Rickert succumbed to her long illness the day after Christmas in 2017. She did not live long enough to see her medicine become legal. People like Jacki and Gary Storck, and veterans like Steve Acheson and the other members of Wisconsin Veterans for Compassionate Care; they are the reason I have continued to introduce bills to legalize medical marijuana every session since 2009. They are the reason I support Governor Evers’ budget proposal and they are the reason I will continue to reach across the aisle and work with my Republican colleagues to get Wisconsin to join the 30 other states who allow their citizens to access marijuana to alleviate conditions like glaucoma, cancer, ALS, chronic pain, PTSD, and, of course, Ehlers-Danlo.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, is a member of the Wisconsin state Senate.
- Senator Agard Sends Letter to JFC Co-Chairs in Support of Keeping Legalization of Marijuana in State Budget - State Sen. Melissa Agard - Feb 10th, 2021
- Chairwoman Nicholson Supports County and State Efforts to End Marijuana Prohibition - County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson - Feb 10th, 2021
- MKE County: Resolution Cuts Pot Possession Fine to $1 - Graham Kilmer - Feb 9th, 2021
- Supervisor Ortiz-Velez Introduces Proposal Reducing Penalty for Marijuana Possession - Sup. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez - Feb 9th, 2021
- Wisconsin Would Use Marijuana Legalization to Pay For Education, Equity - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 7th, 2021
- Senator Agard Supports Governor Evers’ Budget Provision to Legalize and Tax Marijuana in Wisconsin - State Sen. Melissa Agard - Feb 7th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Proposes Legalizing Marijuana, Investing Portion of Revenue in Equity Initiatives and Rural Schools - Gov. Tony Evers - Feb 7th, 2021
- County Supervisors Back $1 Pot Penalty - Gretchen Schuldt - Feb 6th, 2021
- Cannabis Reform Gets Bipartisan Support - Isiah Holmes - Nov 8th, 2020
- A Day to Consider Legalizing Pot - Isiah Holmes - Apr 20th, 2020
Read more about Legalizing of Marijuana here