Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) are introducing a bill at the state Capitol to decriminalize the use of marijuana that serves to give relief to those suffering from chronic pain. Taylor says it’s the compassionate thing to do. “Let’s treat these people not as criminals but let’s treat them with some compassion so that they can get what they need to not suffer. And that is what we all want.”
Taylor says public support is getting to be overwhelming and soon legislators won’t be able to ignore that.
AUDIO The “Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act” has been introduced — and rejected — several times. State Senator Jon Erpenbach is confident Wisconsin will legalize medical marijuana, eventually. 1:02
Opponents of the bill use the “slippery slope” argument, but Erpenbach says that doesn’t hold water. “You know, anybody with a cold will be able to use marijuana,” he says that’s not the case. “To me, it’s always been extremely disrespectful of the patient. You’re talking about somebody with cancer. You’re talking about somebody with glaucoma. You’re talking about somebody with a very debilitating pain disease.”
The “Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act” has been introduced — and rejected — several times. Erpenbach is confident Wisconsin will legalize medical marijuana, eventually. If it doesn’t happen this session, he’ll “be right back next session” with the same bill. “No matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, as long as I’m in office this will be a bill that I will always introduce until it becomes law.”
The bill allows doctors to prescribe the drug without fear of prosecution.
AUDIO Jacki Rickert, after whom this bill was named, appeared at the press conference with Gary Storck — both of Madison NORML. Obviously tired and frail, Rickert used every ounce of energy to tout the benefits of cannabis for debilitating disease.
Erpenbach is certain “level heads will prevail” on this measure. He urges his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to “actually read the bill,” which he says would tightly regulate the use of cannabis. (LRB 1794/1)