Wisconsin Eyes Legalizing Medical Marijuana


Photo: Coaster420, Wikimedia Commons
Wisconsin medical marijuana users are closer than they’ve ever been to that first legal bowl.

​​Lawmakers and marijuana advocacy groups are pushing for Wisconsin to join the 13 other states where medical marijuana is legal. Bills to do so were introduced last week in the Senate and Assembly.

“The time for Wisconsin to become the 15th state to allow patients to use pot to make their lives a bit more comfortable is long past due,” Dave Zweifel, editor emeritus of The Capital Times, editorializes.

Gary Storck of Madison, a prominent leader in the movement to legalize medical marijuana and co-founder (along with Jacki Rickert) of Is My Medicine Legal Yet?, told the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune he vaporizes pot to treat glaucoma and a heart condition. Storck said there is a groundswell of public support and Democrats, who control the Legislature, have been friendlier to past efforts to legalize the herb.
Storck has been pushing for decades to get the Wisconsin Legislature to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Capital Times. “We’re not criminals; we’re just trying to get on with our lives,” Storck said.

Courtesy Gary Storck
Gary Storck has been using marijuana medically since 1972 — but 37 years later, it’s still illegal in Wisconsin.

​Storck accidentally discovered in 1972 that marijuana lowered his intraocular pressure caused by severe congenital open-angle glaucoma. He tried to get into the federal government’s medical pot program in the 1970s, but his physician was unwilling to deal with the bureaucratic red tape involved. Today he finds cannabis helpful not only for glaucoma, but also pain and spasms from degenerative disc disease in his neck and back, migraine headaches, and other physical issues.
Two two bills, if passed, would allow certain patients, including those suffering from HIV, cancer, and other debilitating diseases, whose doctors recommend marijuana, to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or three dried ounces of the drug.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services would issue registration cards to qualified and approved patients, making it possible for police officers to identify those who can legally possess marijuana. Cannabis distribution centers, known as “compassion centers,” would be created and licensed to distribute marijuana.