Two Wisconsin legislators are re-lighting the medical marijuana issue in the Badger State, as prescription pot laws take effect in many other states across America. Onlookers may wonder whether the issue is a greater concern for families with long-term care patients or with impressionable youngsters.
Will teens starts smoking pot, if Grampa Jake or Auntie Eloise start lighting up under a physician’s care? Is that even the real question?
What is the status of the medical marijuana question in Wisconsin?
In an October 3 press conference, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) unrolled the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act. The proposal, tagged as Senate Bill 371, is aimed at enabling seriously ill patients to obtain limited quantities of marijuana at their doctors’ requests.
This is not the first time Erpenbach, Taylor, and others have raised the medical marijuana question in Wisconsin, as the issue has been shot down multiple times in recent years in the state legislature.
The pair of Badger State legislators is circulating the bill for support in the state capital.
“Cannabis can help people who are suffering,” Erpenbach told reporters. “We should give these patients access to what is working for them, not treat them like criminals. It’s like telling people you can take a Vitamin C pill, but you can’t eat an orange.”
Like similar rulings in other states, a Wisconsin medical marijuana ruling would allow prescriptions for patients with such conditions as AIDS-HIV, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, severe pain, and more.
Several states already have full or partial medical marijuana laws or initiatives in place, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Similar prescription pot bills crop up periodically in remaining states as well.
Currently, marijuana distribution is considered a federal offense, although U.S. President Barack Obama urged federal prosecutors in an October 2009 memo not to prosecute those distributing marijuana for medical purposes in states permitting it. In August 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement that updated their own marijuana enforcement policy to allow for individual state rulings, but encouraging states to hold strict regulations for medical marijuana.
Is medical marijuana legalization a family values question?
Many individuals claim it is, while other point to the potential health benefits carefully monitored cannabis usage may have for patients with the most severe conditions.
However Wisconsin and other state legislatures vote on the medical marijuana issue, legislators backing the bills continue to claim prescription pot will be sufficiently regulated to keep it from showing up on the nation’s school playgrounds.
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