Medical Marijuana To Be Proposed in Assembly

Medical Marijuana To Be Proposed in Assembly
Posted by CN Staff on October 03, 2005 at 08:05:02 PT
By Carolyn Smith
Source: Badger Herald 
Wisconsin -- A bill condoning the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is pending introduction in the Wisconsin State Assembly, a state representative said Sunday.If passed, the legislation would allow physicians to recommend in writing that patients who qualify could obtain marijuana legally. While federal law currently overrides state law regarding the use of medical marijuana, the matter continues to be adjudicated in the court system.
The bill is aimed to help relieve symptoms of people who suffer from painful and debilitating diseases, like cancer and multiple sclerosis, State Rep. Gregg Underheim, R-Oshkosh, the lead author of the bill, said.Underheim said he began drafting the legislation after he was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. Though he said he did not use marijuana while he battled the disease, Underheim talked to other cancer patients who said they benefited from the use of the substance.“It provides an option for people who have a very difficult medical [situation] that could be helped by the use of medicinal marijuana,” Underheim said.The bill lists specific conditions patients must have in order to receive a recommendation; after a doctor approves the use of marijuana, a patient must obtain a card from the Department of Health and Family Services stating the person can legally use marijuana for the treatment of a medical condition.The patient must then purchase the marijuana on his or her own, Underheim said.“The bill is silent on that matter,” Underheim said.A similar bill introduced into the Legislature last year was not approved by an Assembly committee and thus never reached the Assembly floor for debate.Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana for medical purposes, though there are several states which have passed legislation legalizing its use to treat illness.“There is a controversy between states and the federal government about whether states have the right to legalize medical marijuana, and that is ongoing,” state Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, a co-author of the bill, said.Black said the conflict between the federal government and state governments will be resolved by the courts system sometime in the future. Polling in the state indicates Wisconsin residents support the use of medicinal marijuana, Underheim added.In a 2005 survey conducted by the Chamberlain Research Consultants and paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project, approximately three-fourths of 600 randomly polled Wisconsinites said they think the state Legislature should allow people suffering from serious illness to legally use marijuana.“We are heartened by such overwhelming, bipartisan support for legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest,” MPP Legislative Analyst Adam Horowitz said in a release. “Young or old, Republican or Democrat, Wisconsin residents believe seriously ill patients should not have to live in fear. We are hopeful that legislators will listen to their constituents and give Wisconsin patients the protection they deserve.”However, there is some opposition to the legislation in the state government and among some in the medical field.June Dahl, a professor of pharmacology for the University of Wisconsin Medical School said there is little evidence marijuana has any “special benefits” over other drugs used to treat the same symptoms. “The major concern I have is that many of the uses to which [marijuana] is purportedly going to be approved really don’t have any basis in science,” Dahl said.In addition, Dahl said there are medicines containing THC — the drug causing the relief of the symptoms in question — that can already be obtained legally through a prescription. Despite this, Underheim said patients who have used both marijuana and other legal drugs that are supposed to have the same effect have told him the alternative drugs are not as effective as marijuana.“Just because this drug has a stigma to it doesn’t mean we should ignore the legitimate medical benefits it could have,” Underheim said.Source: Badger Herald (Edu, Madison, WI)Author: Carolyn SmithPublished: Monday, October 3, 2005Copyright: 2005 Badger HeraldContact: editor badgerherald.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Marijuana Policy Project My Medicine Legal Yet? Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally in Madison With... Gary Storck Ready for Medicinal Marijuana 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 03, 2005 at 09:50:03 PT
Press Release from The Marijuana Policy Project
Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in WisconsinOctober 3, 2005 Statewide Poll Shows Overwhelming SupportMADISON, WISCONSIN—State Rep. Gregg Underheim (R-Oshkosh), joined by a bipartisan coalition of 14 Assembly cosponsors, has introduced legislation to protect seriously ill patients from arrest and jail if they use medical marijuana with their physicians' recommendation. The bill's introduction comes on the heels of a statewide poll showing greater than 4-to-1 support for such a measure."This bill has one purpose: To protect the sick and suffering," Rep. Underheim said. "If someone's doctor believes that marijuana might help them, that patient should not be threatened with arrest and jail."The bill would allow seriously ill patients with a doctor's recommendation to possess and use a limited amount of marijuana for medical use. It is modeled after successful legislation currently in force in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.Support for medical marijuana legislation was measured in a statewide poll by Chamberlain Research Consultants, released Sept. 14. 75.7% of Wisconsinites said they would support legislation to permit patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, or other serious illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's approval, with 18.2% opposed and 6.2% either unsure or declining to answer. Republicans supported the proposal by a margin of 68% to 24.4%, while among Democrats the margin was 83.9% to 10.9%. Support for the proposal topped 70% in all age groups.The telephone survey of 600 randomly selected Wisconsin residents was conducted from July 11-22, 2005, as part of Chamberlain's quarterly Wisconsin Trends poll. Polling on the medical marijuana question was commissioned and paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3.97%. Detailed poll results appear below."With such strong support from all sides of the political spectrum, we are hopeful the medical marijuana bill will move forward quickly," said MPP Legislative Analyst Adam Horowitz. "Wisconsin residents believe seriously ill patients should not have to live in fear, and we are optimistic that legislators will listen to their constituents and give Wisconsin patients the protection they deserve.POLL RESULTS (in percentages):QUESTION: Under Wisconsin law, the use of marijuana is illegal, including for medical purposes. Currently in the 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?OVERALL SAMPLE:
Support: 75.7
Oppose: 18.2
Don't know/refused to answer: 6.2RESULTS BY PARTY:
Support: 68.0
Oppose: 24.4
Don't know/refused: 6.4Democrat
Support: 83.9
Oppose: 10.9
Don't know/refused: 5.2Other
Support: 61.1
Oppose: 22.2
Don't know/refused: 16.7RESULTS BY AGE:
Support: 75.4
Oppose: 17.5
Don't know/refused: 7.025-34
Support: 73.4
Oppose: 20.3
Don't know/refused: 6.435-44
Support: 82.2
Oppose: 11.9
Don't know/refused: 5.945-54
Support: 71.7
Oppose: 22.8
Don't know/refused: 5.555-64
Support: 83.5
Oppose: 11.8
Don't know/refused: 4.765+
Support: 70.2
Oppose: 21.8
Don't know/refused: 8.1With more than 18,000 members and 120,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana—both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit:
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