Wisconsin Democrats seek referendum for Medical Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 13, 2017.

Democrat lawmakers of Wisconsin State are seeking the support of Republicans to legalize medical marijuana in the state. They also urge to let the public decide in a referendum whether Wisconsin should join 28 other states that have legalized medical marijuana.

On Monday, Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) introduced two pieces of legislation. The first bill would legalize the use of medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions. The second would put the issue to voters to measure support in a nonbinding statewide referendum.

The lawmakers pointed out that marijuana could be used as a safer alternative to opioids in treating chronic pain, and should be explored as a means of addressing Wisconsin's opiate abuse epidemic.

At a news conference at the state Capitol in Madison to approve medical marijuana on Monday, Steve Acheson, an Iraq War veteran from Dane County, said medical marijuana has helped him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain associated with three back surgeries from a war-related injury.

Acheson said he used marijuana to wean himself off of myriad painkillers and other medications that were prescribed for his PTSD diagnosis and multiple back surgeries. “Almost the instant that the drug entered my body, I could just feel everything relaxing, and the pain going away and the anxiety going away,” said the war veteran.

"There are a lot of citizens in this state who are struggling. Many are veterans. We are not criminals," Acheson said. "We no longer want to live in the shadows of society in a constant state of fear of repercussion."

Proposals were introduced in both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Rochester Republican, said earlier this year that he was open to legalizing medical marijuana.

Notably, twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use.

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