|Medical Marijuana Blog|
|The Cap Times|
|Rep. Mark Pocan: "[M]aking medical marijuana legal is the right and compassionate thing to do for patients in pain"|
"This is an issue where people are clearly way ahead of the policy makers," Rep. Pocan said. "The Wisconsin Legislature needs to catch up with the public and pass this bill because making medical marijuana legal is the right and compassionate thing to do for patients in pain."
Wisconsinites have been far ahead of their elected representatives on this for decades, according to advocates, reports Gary Storck of Madison NORML. Advisory referendums asking if state lawmakers should pass medical cannabis legislation passed by wide margins in Dane County (75 percent) and River Falls (68 percent) in the November 2010 election. Polling in 2002 and 2005 found statewide support in the 75-80 percent range.
"It is wonderful that there is such a consistent effort to enact compassionate legislation in Wisconsin," said Robert Capecchi, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "The vast majority of Americans support allowing sick people to use marijuana to treat their illnesses, and more and more states are taking steps that reflect that.
"Plenty of evidence already exists proving the relative safety and efficacy of marijuana when used to treat a variety of ailments, and more studies on the potential benefits of marijuana treatments are being released regularly," Capecchi said. "The system proposed by this bill would make sure that qualified patients have safe access to the medicine that works best for them while protecting them from arrest.
"No one should be treated like a criminal just for trying to live a normal life," Capecchi said.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow the medicinal use of cannabis, including Wisconsin's neighbor Michigan. Nearby Illinois and Iowa are also considering medical marijuana bills this year, as are several other states around the country.
A CBS News poll released November 18 showed that 77 percent of voters nationwide think medical marijuana should be legal.