Wisconsin holds first medical cannabis public hearing

Via WI Examiner:

For the Wisconsin Legislature, getting to the point where a conversation about legalizing cannabis could be had in committee has been challenging. It’s a first step legislators finally took Wednesday, April 20, an annual day of celebration for cannabis activists. The  public hearing on the legislation (SB-1034), which would legalize medical marijuana, was held in the Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry and attracted about five hours of testimony. The majority of the testimony called for an end to all cannabis prohibition in Wisconsin.

Attempts to even hold public hearings on bills to legalize cannabis have routinely failed. During the 2021-23 budget process, proposals by Gov. Tony Evers to fully legalize recreational and medicinal cannabis use were stripped out of Evers’ budget document by Republican-controlled committees. The 2022 medical cannabis bill, first introduced four years ago by now-Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) when she was a member of  the Assembly, provides the foundation for a limited-use medicinal market.

Sen. Mary Felzkowski in 2019 signing the inauguration book in the Assembly
 Sen. Mary Felzkowski


Under the legislation, cannabis can be recommended by physicians, physician assistants, and advanced practice nurses who must be registered in Wisconsin and certified to recommend cannabis. The bill excludes the use of flower cannabis, which can be smoked, vaporized, or made into edibles. Rather, cannabis may only be provided in the form of a liquid, oil, pill, tincture, or topical ointment. A Medical Marijuana Regulatory Commission would also be established, separate from the Legislature and the Department of Revenue. One member each would be appointed by the governor, Senate majority leader, speaker of the Assembly, Senate minority leader, and the Assembly minority leader. One of the members would also be selected by the governor to serve as a chairperson with a two-year term.

The commission would have a multitude of functions. Caregivers and patients could apply to the commission to receive a registry identification card, required in order to receive medicinal cannabis. A list of registered cardholders must also be maintained by the commission. Additionally, the bill limits medicinal cannabis use to eight specific conditions: Crohn’s Disease, glaucoma, cancer, HIV/AIDS, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Amyotrophic Later Sclerosis.

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