MADISON, Wis. – A bipartisan bill was introduced on Friday that would, if passed, decriminalize medical cannabis in the state of Wisconsin. The bill was introduced by co-authors Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison), and Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point).
“Each time we introduce this bill, more and more people around Wisconsin find that someone they know has turned to cannabis as a life-altering medical treatment,” said Senator Erpenbach in a statement issued by Wisconsin Senate Democrats. “The public support is there, we have a Governor who supports it, the time for medical cannabis is now.”
The bill would create a registry system for patients overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Health, while the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection would regulate licensing by growers, producers, and vendors.
“It is long past time for state lawmakers to respond to the overwhelming call from the public to legalize medical cannabis in Wisconsin,” Representative Taylor said. “Nobody should be treated as a criminal for accessing the medicine they or their loved ones need. This is a long overdue compassionate law that will finally allow sick patients to access the medicine they need.”
The legislation would require patients to get recommendations from physicians with whom they have an established relationship. It also requires that accessibility to medical cannabis be available to patients, even if they do not have nearby dispensary.
“Growing up, my grandfather was one of my heroes. I watched as cancer robbed him of his strength and vitality,” added Senator Testin. “I saw him make the decision to go outside the law to seek treatment with medical marijuana. It restored his appetite, and I believe it added months to his life. Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment.”
The statement also made note of medical cannabis patients, including Megan Lowe, whose 10-year old daughter Norah suffers from Rett Syndrome, a rare postnatal genetic neurological condition that causes severe impairments and seizures.
“My husband Josh and I see what cannabis is doing for children with Rett Syndrome in other states,” said Lowe. “Their seizures are disappearing and they are gaining skills back, but why can’t Norah see the relief that they are seeing? A medical cannabis program in Wisconsin would mean that not only Norah, but thousands of other medically complex children, could have safe access to a therapy that works, so they can start enjoying just being kids.”