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September 29, 2005

Madison's Core Weekly: US WI: COFFEE WITH... Gary Storck

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, September 29, 2005

The new Madison weekly, Core Weekly has a feature each week by editor Nathan Comp. This week I was the subject. You can read the full article click here

Posted by Gary at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2005

Medical Marijuana bill draft being circulated by Rep. Underheim

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday September 16, 2005

Good news for Wisconsin medical cannabis patients and supporters just two weeks before the annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival click here. Rep. Gregg Underheim's (R-Oshkosh) long-awaited medical marijuana bill is being circulated to state lawmakers for cosponsorships.

The bill contains an early Christmas present for patients and their caregivers. It allows patients or caregivers to cultivate their medicine, just like other states that have legalized medical cannabis. Previously, Rep. Underheim had indicated the bill would offer no means of supply.

He had told me and 4 other patients that much after Gov. Jim Doyle's State of the State address in January 2005. In May, while attending a conference sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., I spoke with MPP director Rob Kampia and explained Underheim's position. Kampia agreed to fund a poll through Chamberlain Research Consultants of Madison WI, the same pollsters who did a poll for Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY) in 2002 click here. While IMMLY's poll found over 80% support for medical marijuana, MPP used different wording and got only a little over 75% click here.

The question I suggested to gauge public support for allowing cultivation, found over 50% support.

While the tempermental Kampia refused to share the poll results with myself or other state activists, we did learn the results from an anonymous Washington source.

Here is the question MPP asked in the Chamberlain survey about cultivation:

2. The current bill does not address how patients would acquire medical marijuana. Other states with medical marijuana laws allow patients or their caregivers to grow their own marijuana. Would you be more or less likely to support the bill if it also allowed people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious illnesses to grow their own marijuana for medical purposes, as long as their physician approves?

It sems that these results, combined with my raising the issue in Lisa Kaiser's excellent cover story in the Shepherd-Express of Milwaukee, "The Politics of Pot Medical Marijuana Activists Are Just Getting Started" click here, reprinted a month later in Madison's weekly Isthmus, "Will Wisconsin Allow Pot As Medicine?" click here may have helped trigger the change. Whatever it was, patients, their families and supporters and advocates should be very grateful to Rep. Underheim for a very fine bill that, if passed, would protect patients and put Wisconsin on par with other states that have legalized this therapy (CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, ME, CO, NV, VT, & MT).

With a good bill ready to go, Wisconsin medical cannabis supporters are now looking to a hoped for hearing in Rep. Underheim's Assembly Health Committtee later this fall.

Here are the bill details:

Right click to and save to download the bill draft in PDF Download file

_____________________________________
From: Rep.Underheim
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 1:00 PM
To: *Legislative All Assembly; *Legislative All Senate
Subject: Underheim/Cosponsor LRB-1136/2 Medical use of Marijuana Legislation/Deadline: Friday, Sept. 30, 2005


To: All Legislative Colleagues
From: State Representative Gregg Underheim
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2005
RE: Medical use of marijuana, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
I am introducing legislation LRB 1136/2 relating to the medical use of marijuana.

This bill establishes a medical necessity defense to marijuana>->related prosecutions and property seizure actions. A person may invoke this defense if he or she is a qualifying patient or, under certain circumstances, the primary caregiver for a qualifying patient. A “qualifying patient” is someone having or undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment, and a “primary caregiver” is a person who is at least 18 years old who has agreed to be responsible for managing a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. The bill defines a debilitating medical condition to mean any of the following: 1) cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, a positive HIV test, or the treatment of these conditions; 2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of such a disease or condition that causes cachexia (wasting away), severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms; 3) any other medical condition or any other treatment for a medical condition designated as a debilitating medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS). A person may invoke this defense if he or she acquires, possesses, cultivates, transports, or uses marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of his or her debilitating medical condition or treatment or, as a primary caregiver, acquires, possesses, cultivates, or transports marijuana to facilitate the qualifying patient’s medical use of it, but only if no more than a reasonable amount of marijuana is involved. The defense applies also to prosecutions involving drug paraphernalia if the qualifying patient uses the paraphernalia for the medical use of marijuana. A person is presumed to have the defense if the person has a valid registry identification card from DHFS (see Registry for medical users of marijuana below) if no more than a reasonable amount of marijuana is involved.

The bill also prohibits the arrest or prosecution of a person who acquires, possesses, cultivates, transports, or uses marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of his or her debilitating medical condition or treatment or, as a primary caregiver, acquires, possesses, cultivates, or transports marijuana to facilitate the qualifying patient’s medical use of it, if the person has a valid registry identification card from DHFS. This prohibition applies also to arrests or prosecutions involving drug paraphernalia if the qualifying patient uses the drug paraphernalia for the medical use of marijuana. This prohibition, however, applies only if no more than a reasonable amount of marijuana is involved. In addition, the bill prohibits the arrestor prosecution of or the imposition of any penalty on a physician who provides a written certification to a person in good faith. (See Registry for medical users of marijuana below.)

The defense provided under the bill and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill do not apply if the person possesses or attempts to possess marijuana under the following circumstances: 1) the person drives or operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana; 2) while under the influence of marijuana, the person operates heavy machinery or engages in any other conduct that endangers the health or well>->being of another person; 3) the person smokes marijuana on a bus, at the person’s workplace, on school premises, in an adult or juvenile correctional facility or jail, at a public park, beach, or recreation center, or at a youth center; or 4) the person has been convicted of distributing or delivering, or possessing with the intent to distribute and deliver, marijuana to another person. In addition, if the putative qualifying patient is under 18 years of age, the defense provided under the bill and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill apply only if the person’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian agrees to serve as a primary caregiver for the person.

Registry for medical users of marijuana
The bill requires DUFFS to establish a registry for medical users of marijuana. Under the bill, a person claiming to be a qualifying patient may apply for a registry identification card by submitting to DHFS a signed application, accompanied by a statement from his or her physician documenting that the person has or is undergoing a debilitating medical condition or treatment and that the potential benefits to the person of using marijuana outweigh the health risks involved (a “written certification”). DHFS must then verify the information. If it is complete and correct, DHFS must issue the person a registry identification card. A qualifying patient and one of his or her primary caregivers may jointly apply for a registry identification card for the primary caregiver. DHFS may not disclose that it has issued to a person a registry identification card, or information from an application for one, except to a law enforcement agency for the purpose of verifying that a person possesses a valid registry identification card. A registry identification card is valid for one year, unless revoked sooner by DHFS based on a change of circumstances, and may be renewed. DHFS may not charge a fee for issuing a registry identification card.

Effect on federal law
This bill changes only state law regarding marijuana. Federal law generally prohibits persons from manufacturing, delivering, or possessing marijuana and applies to both intrastate and interstate violations. Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime, the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to result if the bill is enacted. For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as an appendix to this bill.


The legislation is attached below for your reference.

<<>05-11362.pdf>>>
If you would like to co-sponsor this bill, please contact my office at 266-2254 or via email by Friday, September 30, 2005.

Posted by Gary at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)