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showed 93% of Americans support medical marijuana and no state that has passed a medical marijuana program has ever repealed it.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.
- A Day to Consider Legalizing Pot - Isiah Holmes - Apr 20th, 2020
- New ACLU Report: Black People Four Times More Likely to Get Arrested for Marijuana Possession in Wisconsin - American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin - Apr 20th, 2020
- ‘When, Not If’ Medical Marijuana Is Legalized - Corri Hess - Feb 4th, 2020
- State Residents Cross Border for Legal Pot - Corri Hess - Jan 3rd, 2020
- GOP Bill Legalizes Medical Marijuana - Shawn Johnson - Dec 11th, 2019
- The Cannabis Question: More People Using Pot as Medicine - Shayli Kipnis - Nov 9th, 2019
- The Cannabis Question: Bill Eases Burdens On Pot Offenders - Natalie Yahr - Nov 6th, 2019
- The Cannabis Question: Pot Possession Charges Cause Big Problems - Natalie Yahr - Nov 2nd, 2019
- Bill Would Decriminalize Pot Possession - Laurel White - Oct 30th, 2019
- Senator Larson Continues to Support Legalization and Decriminalization of Marijuana - State Sen. Chris Larson - Oct 30th, 2019
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