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Is Wisconsin ready for the legalization of marijuana? Legislators weigh in

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MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Senate meets on Tuesday, April 1st for the final time this session. 20 states have legalized medical marijuana -- and at least 14 others are considering legislation. Is Wisconsin itching toward the legalization of marijuana?

"Medical marijuana does wonders for people who are in really difficult times right now," Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said.

Sen. Erpenbach has proposed legislation that would decriminalize medical marijuana.

"You have to be compassionate in these situations. For someone to think, 'no you can't have that' tells me they're kind of heartless right now," Sen. Erpenbach said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says the issue isn't likely to be voted on any time soon.

"My own personal standpoint is: I don't support medical marijuana or recreational," Sen. Fitzgerald said.

But Sen. Fitzgerald says before any action in Wisconsin, he wants to see how the issue plays out in Colorado, which legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana this year.

"I'm curious to see what does happen in Colorado. They're reporting revenue numbers in excess of $3 million a month, but along with that is going to be the squeeze on services in that state, so I'm watching what happens in Colorado," Sen. Fitzgerald said.

The issue is clearly volatile among voters. In October, the Marquette University Law School Poll showed 50 percent supported it, while 45 percent opposed it.

The same question was asked in March, and the numbers were essentially reversed.

"There's some argument there that may still develop as the country goes through the process of learning what happens in a state that fully decriminalizes," Professor Charles Franklin said.

Gov. Walker recently said he's taking a wait-and-see approach.

"I don`t think you`re going to see anything serious anytime soon here, but if other states did, maybe in the next Legislative session there`d be more talk about it," Gov. Walker said.

Democratic challenger Mary Burke says she supports it.

"I think legalization of medicinal marijuana makes a lot of sense," Burke said.

Gov. Walker says his thinking on the issue is heavily influenced by law enforcement officials who view marijuana as a "gateway drug" that could lead to more substance abuse.

28 comments

  • Norman Gooding

    Perhaps legislators should check with their constituents before declaring their stance,,unless the voters opinions mean nothing.
    The Supreme Court just ruled a lower court was correct to order a Sheriff in AZ to return medical marijuana to a CA patient,,the Supreme Court either accepts that marijuana is medicine or they just ordered law enforcement to return a Schedule 1 drug to a citizen.

  • Rick Steeb

    To keep Cannabis illegal while tobacco and alcoholic beverages are ubiquitously available would be *murderously stupid*.

    Any other “crime” have over 50% advocacy? What does “democracy” mean?

  • Ariel Johnson

    They need to at least legalize it for medicinal purposes…My husband who’s 26 years old has been fighting cancer for two an a half years. He has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an bone marrow cancer and is a stage four. The chem wears him down but with pot he can finally eat, sleep, an feel less pain, and more energy at times.

    • Don't be a sheep

      Good old scotty.

      Yeppp, nothing wrong with pumping cancer and sezuire patients full of opoids, benzos, and psychotropics to the point they’re in a catonic state, but that evil little green plant I tell you – it’ll have you addicted to drugs!

      lol. If pfizer, roche, and wattson invested a half billion dollars into medical marijuana, like they do for their other drugs, you can bet it’d be legal by tomorrow.

    • Christopher

      AGREED!!! Same with caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol those what really lead to the use and abuse of other more harder substances. It’s been this way for decades.

  • Brian Kelly B Bizzle

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, 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!

    “[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

  • StunnedByTheIgnorance

    It appears to me that anyone counting on Scott Walker to do the honorable thing on this issue needs to consider who they are talking about. The ONLY way you folks in the badger state are going to be heard is to KICK OUT THE REPUBLICAN in charge. You had the chance with the recall but somehow Walker survived after all of his dishonest (lies) tactics and antics. Now he will feel invincible. Hell this guy is actually thinking about the Presidency, now that is rich. ANYONE who voted for this character in the recall election deserves what they get. We all make mistakes but Wisconsin had a chance to fix it and instead re-elected this %!!.

  • caliboss

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and Wisconsin, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever

    AMERICA’S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33

  • Jamie

    Wisconsin needs to get with it. My husband has to wait on lawmakers to decide whether or not he can use marijuana to treat his disorder. He has RSD/CRPS which on the pain scale is more painful than amputating a finger without medication. He has it in his leg and can barely walk the pain is so intense. This nerve disorder doesn’t respond to opioids and has minimal response to nerve medication. Marijuana has been proven to help people like him. But he has to wait for it. He can’t use it illegally either because the pain doctors drug and will discontinue treatment if he tests positive.

    • Donald Honold

      Jamie i have the same things with me as you have. I got my leg blown off in Vietnlam and NOBODY can help me wilth my pain which is 24/7 e-mail me if you want. bucko3050@yahoo .com

  • ryan

    I do not think pot is a gateway drug at all, it should become legalized.
    Its almost the same xact thing as alcohol. So just make it u gotta be a certain age to smoke like 18 or 21 .

  • Joe Stauffacher

    People simply need to educate themselves on the issue. Cannabis is the healthiest vegetable. It was the first billion dollar crop because of all the byproducts created from the fiber. Governor Walker is siding on the side that loses jobs if decriminalized and legalized. What a joke coming from the guy who took down unions. He works for the gang in blue.

    The only place besides a cannabis plant that you will find cannabinoids is in human breast milk. Literally the mothers milk is building and strengthening the babies immune system.

  • Christopher Harris (@CMHarris_11)

    Alcohol is the gateway drug. There is no denying that. It completely lowers inhibitions far more that marijuana ever can (except maybe for the munchies ;) ). And seeing how Wisconsin is so caught up in that substance, I can not see any argument to keep it illegal, especially not medicinalized. He clearly has his hands in the cookie jar with the law enforcement unions, and they are the largest groups advocating against all forms of it. Such a shame…

  • Steven

    They say marijuanna is a gateway drug… Hmm let’s think about that for a moment… The only reason it’s a gateway drug is because you have to pick it up from hmmm DRUG DEALERS! If it was regulated and sold in a store you wouldn’t deal with the black market people who have readily available drugs. It’s simple, people need to wake up! Why spend millions of dollars fighting marijuanna when it’s only helping people but instead tax it and help get out of debt or use the money towards the things we truly need. Anyone opposed to legalizing marijuanna has a closed mind and can’t open it up to new ideas, but rather would sit back and do nothing so the us continues to fight marijuanna for no reason and keep wasting money. Just like prohibition, people are going to use marijuanna whether you like it or not so why not regulate it and have control over it. Why is alcohol ok to buy and tobacco, both which kill people but not pot. Grow up and get with the new world people

  • Joy

    The only reason it’s a gateway drug is because you have to associate with shady people in order to get it or to smoke it in a social setting.

    • annajaya67

      Honey it’s a plant. You could grow it from a chia head in the backyard every day of your life and would never see a “shady” person. I have no idea who you associate with but all of my stoner friends have full-time careers and college degrees. Maybe it’s *you* who needs to get out more to change your outdated perspective of this world.

  • annajaya67

    Marijuana is not a gateway drug to harsher drugs any more than caffeine is a gateway to meth or cocaine. Alcohol is the only drug banned in the bible. Wisconsin citizens are smarter and have many more small, private banks. They won’t allow the feds to take over their banks or credit unions so this may actually work very well.

  • northernlights420

    Fitz… your rear-end should be unemployed after this next election for attempting to prevent the chemo pill bill from hitting the floor… then voting for it!!! Vukmir is another story…

    Fitzgerald you’re in it for corporations… and law enforcement is hanging onto this prohibition as it is a cash cow for them. Wisconsin will legalize it eventually… once people see the damage this administration has done to this state.

  • Mick

    Blah Blah Blah “gateway drug” You know how much money the government could make if it was legalized? which brings me to say, tobacco is TERRIBLE for you, but its legal? also, same with everything else. Marijuana is not bad for you. Why make a big deal about it when we could be saving lives? Stupid government.

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