Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) announced today, during a press conference at the state capital, the introduction of medical marijuana legislation known as the “Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act,” which would let seriously ill Wisconsin residents use marijuana to treat their illnesses.
The bill has been introduced during every legislative session for several years and is an exact replica of bill introduced in 2009, according to a spokesman from Pocan’s office. The bill would allow patients to grow small amounts of marijuana to treat a specific set of conditions, as well as permit the establishment of regulated and licensed cultivation and distribution centers within the state.
Jacki Rickert, the bill’s namesake, led a 210 mile wheelchair journey 14 years ago from Mondovi to Madison that advocated for medical marijuana in Wisconsin.
“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.” “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. “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.”
“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.”
Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana, including Michigan. Nearby Illinois and Iowa are also considering medical marijuana bills this year, as are several other states around the country.
Pocan will be joined Wednesday in the Assembly parlor by Gary Storck, a glaucoma patient and director of communications for “Is My Medicine Legal YET?” and psychiatrist Dr. Angela Janis. Recently, A CBS News poll showed that 77% of voters nationwide think medical marijuana should be legal.