Wisconsin Radio Network on Info
Legislature is looking at legalized medical marijuana
by Doug Cunningham
From Wisconsin Radio Network Archives at http://www.wrn.com/
Smoking marijuana as a medical treatment is legal in eight states and the Wisconsin legislature is about to take a look at the issue. As she rolled her wheelchair up to the table to testify before the Assembly's State Affairs committee, Jacki Rickert epitomized the argument for medical marijuana. Suffering from the bone and muscle malady Ehlers-Danlos syndrome as well as reflexive sympathetic dystrophy, Rickert was approved for a federal therapeutic marijuana program but the program was cancelled before she got her medicine. Down to 68 pounds, she smoked marijuana anyway to restore her appetite and to ease her discomfort, cutting the use of her other prescriptions in half. "This is a health issue, " Rickert said, "it is not a drug issue. We're not talking about people going out on streets, buying and selling drugs to children. This is totally for people's quality of life." Representatives Frank Boyle and Mark Pocan have a bill in the drafting stage that would legalize use and cultivation of medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Dr. Michael Miller of the State Medical Society testified that medical marijuana is an oxymoron. He said while synthetic THC derived from marijuana has proven medical benefits, he claimed smoking marijuana does not. Rickert says after her doctor prescribed marijuana for her, he did all the necessary paperwork to get her approved for a federal medical marijuana program. But the program was ended before she got her marijuana so she smoked it anyway because it was the only thing that worked. State Representative Frank Boyle (D-Superior), along with colleague Mark Pocan (D-Madison) says medical marijuana's time has come in Wisconsin. Boyle and Pocan are in the process of drafting an Assembly bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin but it has not yet been introduced. Boyle says the medical evidence of smoked marijuana's medical usefulness doesn't exist in the U.S. because such research is not allowed in the government's zeal to keep marijuana illegal. When Boyle told the Assembly committee that the UW couldn't get the marijuana to do the research, Representative Wayne Wood quipped that "they do it almost every weekend." Boyle says politics is impeding science on the medical marijuana issue. He says marijuana has been used as medicine for 1400 years worldwide.