Push to legalize medical marijuana
Supporters want bill voted on
Updated: Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010, 9:46 PM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 24 Mar 2010, 9:46 PM CDT
- Reporter: Lou Hillman
GREEN BAY – The push is on from supporters of medical marijuana to get the drug legalized this year. Those in favor are planning rallies all across the state on Saturday.
Jay Selthofner, the field director for Wisconsin NORML, said the idea is to raise awareness about the proposal. NORML stands for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Wisconsin’s regular 2010 legislative session wraps up in the next few weeks. Selthofner and others say they want to see lawmakers vote on proposed medical marijuana legislation before then.
“Every day that bill is not passed, that we do not have this legislation, patients are in jeopardy,” said Selthofner.
Selthofner said he got involved after watching his cousin die in pain.
“We just knew that the cannabis would have helped with his pain management and would have definitely helped with his appetite and would have changed his life,” said Selthofner.
Many doctors agree that the drug stimulates appetite and reduces nausea.
Law enforcement officials, however, say they’re worried that legalizing medical marijuana will make the drug more accessible to everyone. The Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association said there are better options.
“It is our understanding that you can receive the same THC content from an inhaler or from pill form,” said Doug Pettit, with the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association.
“We think there needs to be a lot more research done in this area,” he added.
Supporters of the bill are anxious to see it introduced in 2010, but Selthofner said one of the key details that still needs to be hammered out is how the marijuana would be distributed.
One of the ideas is to establish dispensaries where marijuana would be grown and sold. The current bill would also let patients grow their own plants.
“That’s kind of the big thing why the legislation is taking so long. They want to make sure that, not only do we combat any problems other states may have but possibly set a model or precedence for future states to build their program on,” said Selthofner.
Currently 14 states allow medical marijuana. Still, many are not so sure that it’s the right thing to do for Wisconsin.