State Ready for Medicinal Marijuana

State Ready for Medicinal Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on September 28, 2005 at 06:39:18 PT
By Krista B. Ledbetter of the Northwestern
Source: Oshkosh Northwestern
Wisconsin -- Are Wisconsinites ready to allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes? Recent poll results suggest state residents are, and Rep. Gregg Underheim agrees.“It is clear the public is way ahead of politicians,” Underheim said. “The public is ready to accept the use of marijuana as a medical tool.”
Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana policy reform organization, released results this month showing Wisconsin residents support medical marijuana legislation by a margin of greater than four to one. Support was strong in all age groups and all political affiliations, the results stated. The results were released at a time when Underheim is actively working toward legislation to make medicinal marijuana legal in Wisconsin. A bill has been drafted and is currently being tweaked to make it workable in the state, Underheim said.“The bill is in the process of finalization so we can have a hearing,” he said. “The plan is to have a hearing in November.”Essentially, he said, the bill would make it legal for patients with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses to use marijuana medicinally with a physicians recommendation. Bruce Mirken, director of communications for Marijuana Policy Project, said the organization is pleased with the results of the poll, but not surprised.“The support is very strong,” he said. “It’s interesting how support cuts across age groups and party affiliations. People mistakenly think of this as a liberal issue, but it’s really not.”Mirken said the organization, which tries to bring about sensible marijuana laws on both a state and federal level, has been working with Underheim during the process of introducing his bill into legislation. “Our current marijuana laws hurt people. They cause harm rather than prevent it,” Mirken said. “The most glaring example is laws that subject seriously ill patients to arrest or jail who absolutely without a doubt benefit medically from marijuana use.”Underheim said patients who are undergoing chemotherapy are typically those who benefit from medicinal marijuana use because it enhances the productivity of legally prescribed pain medications, which allows the patient to be less dependant on pain-killers. Marijuana can also increase appetite, which is greatly diminished during chemotherapy and also in people who are on medications for the AIDS virus, he said.Underheim said a long process awaits before such legislation might pass, however.“First the bill has to pass the (Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long-term Care Committee), and there’s no guarantee that all the members will go for it,” Underheim said. “Then it has to pass the Assembly. It’s really going to be up to the public to support this and contact their legislators.”Poll Question: Under Wisconsin law, the use of marijuana is illegal, including for medical purposes. Currently in Wisconsin Legislature, there is a bill pending that would allow people with cancer, multiple sclerosis, or other serious illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes, as long as their physician approves. Do you support or oppose this bill?Poll Results: Overall: 75.7 percent support, 18.2 percent oppose, 6.2 percent otherPoll Results Divided by Political Affiliation and Age:Republican: 68 percent support, 24.4 percent oppose, 6.4 percent otherDemocrat: 83.9 percent support, 10.9 percent oppose, 5.2 percent otherAge 18 to 24: 75.4 percent support, 17.5 oppose, 7 percent otherAge 25 to 34: 73.4 percent support, 20.3 percent oppose, 6.4 percent otherAge 35 to 44: 82.2 percent support, 11.9 percent oppose, 5.9 percent otherAge 45 to 54: 71.7 percent support, 22.8 percent oppose, 5.5 percent otherAge 55 to 64: 83.5 percent support, 11.8 percent oppose, 4.7 percent otherAge 65 and over: 70.2 percent support, 21.8 percent oppose, 8.1 percent otherSource: Oshkosh Northwestern (WI)Author: Krista B. Ledbetter of the NorthwesternPublished: Septenber 28, 2005Copyright: 2005 Gannett Co., Inc.Contact: oshkoshletters thenorthwestern.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Marijuana Policy Project My Medicine Legal Yet? Legislator To Lead Push Marijuana Advocates Praise Bill
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on September 28, 2005 at 17:29:46 PT
Why would the legislature be afraid to support medical cannabis if over 80% of Wisconsinites support it? It has more to do with representing special interests instead of representing the people. The legislature has no excuse and those who oppose medical cannabis must be exposed and removed.
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Comment #7 posted by MikeC on September 28, 2005 at 14:10:42 PT
Let's go Wisconsin...
Let's get this thing done!I can't believe that with all the facts we know about marijuana that we are still struggling as a society to accept it's medical use. Can't people realize that it's very prohibition is what causes crime associated with marijuana? I'm just amazed at the magnitude of ignorance we are dealing with.Mike C
Prescott, WI
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Comment #6 posted by siege on September 28, 2005 at 10:36:01 PT
O T voting machines
We had voting machines in this county the kind that punch holes in the card, and they set one up to vote for the other person not the one you voted for.
know we have paper to make the mark on, and you have to watch the people there so the count is right. It is all in the counting of the vote's, if someone don't like what is being voted for they just mark it so it loses. this is where the TV news or the people could monitor all the vote counts. It is not like back in the 1940's where the people doing the count where bacicly of honor.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on September 28, 2005 at 09:29:41 PT:
Founding felons.
That's right if our founding fathers were alive today
they would be felons. Gangsta gardners. Feloneous farmers. And judgeing by the amount the grew they would all be doing time somewhere imprisoned by the very government they invented. I love irony.
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Comment #4 posted by Max Flowers on September 28, 2005 at 09:23:23 PT
fearfull - dysfunctional democracy?
I hear ya, but you also have to think that the people, if the polls are correct and the vast majority do want MMJ, are timid too for not being the ones who do vote them out of office.What is going on if the majority want it, but then that same majority is unable to vote the cowards out, and the cowards are worrying about the minority (thinking that they're the majority)? What's wrong with this picture? Are the people who are pro-MMJ not voting, or what? I don't get it.
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Comment #3 posted by Truth on September 28, 2005 at 08:25:18 PT
State I. D.
the county health department issues the card but it's a state program that all counties will institute. (420) I wonder why that wasn't mentioned in the article.
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Comment #2 posted by fearfull on September 28, 2005 at 08:16:36 PT
Nothing new....
It's sad, but this has been attempted several times in the Wisconsin legislature. I predict that any bill will go the same way as previous ones, no where. The Wisconsin legislature is full of cowards. Thay are all afraid to take a stand for fear of being voted out in the next election.
Really a microcosim of the country as a whole, maintain the status quo and collect that pay check.
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Comment #1 posted by Gary Storck on September 28, 2005 at 08:08:55 PT
IMMLY poll in 2002 found 80%
These results echo IMMLY's poll from February 2002 that found over 80% statewide support using a different question. You can read those complete results at
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