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November 17, 2009

Channel 3000 video report on Jacki Rickert MMJ Act hearing

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yesterday's Capitol press conference was a success at getting the word out to state media, with coverage statewide. Below is a nice report from Madison's Channel 9 (Channel 3000)

2 State Lawmakers Put Forward Medical Marijuana Bill

13 States Have Legalized Medical Marijuana

MADISON, Wis. -- Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes said on Monday the time is right to change the law in Wisconsin.

Two Democratic state lawmakers announced on Monday that a bill they are co-sponsoring to legalize medical marijuana will be the subject of a public hearing on Dec. 15.

The idea has been kicking around the state Capitol for years, but some said that they believe the momentum is there for passage next year, WISC-TV reported.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee said he thinks there is enough support to get it passed. He and Assembly co-sponsor state Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison were joined by advocacy groups and patients who say using marijuana can help those ill with cancer regain their appetite and deal with pain from their diseases and treatments.

Under the new plan, called the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, people with certain diseases or medical conditions could legally grow 12 marijuana plants and possess three ounces of marijuana for medical use.

"We certainly are seeing a different landscape than we have in past years," Pocan said.

Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana and Gov. Jim Doyle last month said he would support it if users have a doctor's prescription.

On the federal level, President Barack Obama favors less prosecution of it, according to bill proponents. Add in last year's passage of a Michigan referendum on legalizing medical marijuana, and advocates said that they're more hopeful than ever.

The legislation is named after Rickert, a wheelchair-bound medical marijuana user and advocate from Mondovi. She has been in a wheelchair for 15 years in a wheelchair suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other problems.

"I've seen so much different change this time around that people seem to have hope ...you can lose a lot from your body, but when something's taken from your spirit, that's one of the hardest things," she said.

Rickert said the new proposed named after her is giving her and other supporters new hope.

She said "cannabis angels" mysteriously show up and give her marijuana that lets her keep her weight up and cut her morphine use in half.

Backers of the bill said the measure is about compassionate care when other legal painkillers don't do the trick.

"Medical marijuana, for some people ... is the best way they can find any sort of relief," said Erpenbach.

The measure might face some opposition from law enforcement and some Republican state lawmakers. However, even some conservatives like state Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend are mulling over a "yes" vote.

Grothman said he hasn't made up his mind yet, but is inclined to vote for it unless someone gives him "a good reason not to".

"It wouldn't shock me if I vote for it," Grothman said.

A joint committee hearing will be held on the plan next month. The proposal requires people with a doctor's prescription to register with the state before growing up to 12 marijuana plants or going to state regulated dispensaries.

Some lawmakers said that they want to know if law enforcement believes medical marijuana would increase illegal pot use.

A spokesman for the Madison Police Department said it doesn't have a stance on the issue.

Posted by Gary at November 17, 2009 11:23 AM

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