October 20, 2014

Dim prospects for medical marijuana

What are the prospects marijuana reform in Wisconsin? Colorado and Washington state have decriminalized it, and voters in Massachusetts allowed medical marijuana. Advocates in Wisconsin were elated by those outcomes, according to Gary Storck with Madison-based Is My Medicine Legal Yet.

But Storck said prospects for any similar actions in Wisconsin are “not very good,” with Republican control in the legislature. “Due to redistricting, Republicans were able to retain a really iron grip on the legislature, and they have not been very willing to look at medical marijuana or drug policy reform issues,” said Storck. He noted that it wasn’t too long ago that GOP lawmakers were willing to take the lead on the controversial issue. “Rick Skindrud held a hearing on medical marijuana. Representative Greg Underheim, an Oshkosh Republican, introduced a bill in two consecutive sessions.”

Storck said reforming the state’s marijuana laws to keep offenders out of jail would make fiscal sense – but he’s not holding his breath. Medical marijuana legislation will be offered again in the upcoming legislative session. “Representative Chris Taylor of Madison will be picking up from where Representative Mark Pocan left off,” he said. “We’re not giving up.”