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October 09, 2007

Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act final cosponsor total

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rep. Mark Pocan’s office reports that a total of 11 Assembly Representatives and zero State Senators joined him and Rep. Frank Boyle in sponsoring LRB-2455/1 - Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.

The 2 sponsors and 11 cosponsors, 12 Democrats and 1 Republican, are as follows:

Rep. Frank Boyle (D - Superior)
Rep. Mark Pocan (D - Madison)
Rep. Terese Berceau (D - Madison)
Rep. Spencer Black (D - Madison)
Rep. Tamara Grisgby (D- Milwaukee)
Rep. Barbara Gronemus (D- Whitehall)
Rep. Joe Parisi (D- Madison)
Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts (D- Middleton)
Rep. Marlin Schneider (D- WI Rapids)
Rep. Gary Sherman (D- Port Wing)
Rep. Dave Travis (D- Waunakee)
Rep. Jeff Wood (R- Chippewa Falls)
Rep. Josh Zepnick (D- Milwaukee)

LRB-2455/1, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, has now been sent to the Assembly’s Chief Clerk. It will then be given a bill number and assigned to a committee.

There are several possibilities as to which Assembly committee it might go into, including Health and Healthcare and Public Health. Health and Healthcare is chaired by Rep. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa). In remarks to the WI State Journal on April 10, 2007, Vukmir said this of a medical cannabis bill’s chances in Health and Healthcare:

But Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health and Healthcare Reform, said she would continue her opposition to medical marijuana because of concerns about its safety.

Vukmir, a nurse, said she believes it is better for patients to use medications that have been approved or may soon be available than to have people grow their own marijuana.

"I will refuse to put members through the circus of a hearing for a bill that is not going to go anywhere," Vukmir said. "This is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana, which is not going to happen on my watch."

Another possibility could be that the bill is assigned to the Public Health committee, chaired by Rep. J.A. Hines (R-Oxford) a moderate, whose staff indicates that the bill will receive a hearing, as is customary for him, but it may not receive a vote. Vukmir is that committee’s vice chair.

The lack of a lead cosponsor in the Senate means the bill will have to live or die in the Assembly. If Speaker Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem) sends the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act to Vukmir’s committee, the bill is likely dead on arrival.

The wild card is the Senate Health committee hearing on medical marijuana, scheduled for Nov. 14. While the hearing will not be on any specific legislation, it could raise the issue’s visibility enough to give it added life.

We’ll know which committee in about 7 to 14 days…

Posted by Gary at October 9, 2007 06:52 PM

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