In Nov. 2008 the Democrats gained control of both houses of the state legislature. With incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle already holding down the executive branch, a nice stage was set to address marijuana reform.
Democrats held the majority and chaired both health committees addressing the medical bill. The Assembly Committee on Public Health was chaired by retired neurologist Rep. Chuck Benedict (D-Beloit). The Senate Committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, was chaired by Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), the Senate sponsor of the medical cannabis legislation.
The date of the hearing was Dec. 15, 2009, and that was that last time the Wisconsin legislative body held a public hearing on medical marijuana reform. It was labeled a “Joint Public Hearing” as both the Senate and Assembly held a combined public hearing on the issue. That bill did not pass out of committee. In 2010 the Republicans took over and the issue has not been brought up again in a public hearing.
Back in 2009 before that public hearing took place, I was asked to fund raise money for the now defunct Madison / Wisconsin NORML chapter. One main fundraising goal assigned to me was to raise funding to bring in an out of town expert to testify at our public hearing. We brought in Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, from Patients out of Time.
Mary Lynn Mathre, a nurse and the President and co-founder of the national medical cannabis group Patients Out of Time, addressed many of the points brought up during Wisconsin Medical Society Dr. Miller’s opposition testimony. Mathre also testified about the strong support in not only the nursing community, but the medical world in general as documented in their list of organizations supporting the therapeutic use of cannabis.
The fight continues, and the need for funding is always present. So far in 2020 I have helped with funding by donating again to this organization during their Resolution to De-Schedule Cannabis Campaign. Last time I checked they had over 97 organizations and 190 individual signatories.
Learn more about this campaign at the Patients Out of Time website.