Senate To Hear Pros, Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

  Senate To Hear Pros, Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on November 14, 2007 at 06:04:00 PT
By Jessi Polsky 
Source: Badger Herald 

Wisconsin -- The controversial issue of medical marijuana is the topic of an informal Wisconsin state Senate hearing at the Capitol Wednesday. The hearing will feature testimony by three experts leading the battle to legalize medical marijuana. Following the speakers, the floor will be open for discussion.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed in the state Legislature in 1982, but the bill was only symbolic in its passage because it required but did not receive support from the federal government. Gary Storck, director of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said a medical marijuana user in Wisconsin would face criminal charges if caught with the illegal substance.“Now a medical marijuana patient in Wisconsin faces the same predicament a recreational user would face,” Storck said.The hearing today is not in support of a specific bill, but rather to discuss this controversial health care matter. According to Storck, because Republicans have been in control of the Senate from 1993 until this past election, past bills encouraging the legalization of the drug for medical use have died in the Capitol. “The GOP tends to vote as a block even though the individuals who elect them say they support marijuana,” Storck said. “Hearing it in the Senate where the Democrats are in control gives the issue new light.”The informal hearing, Storck added, will hopefully lead to the drafting of medical marijuana legislation in the Senate.“The hearing will clear up the mythology,” Storck said. “It paves the way for a Senate Bill next session. Gov. Doyle said he would sign a bill if it reaches his desk.”Expert witnesses are going to answer questions in hopes of dispelling rumors commonly associated with marijuana. Storck said those who testify will help show the community that marijuana can be used for medical proposes and thus, should be treated like any other medical drug. “If there was other medications we could take, we’d be glad to do it,” Storck said. “[Marijuana] is the safest medicine for us.”Medical marijuana user George MacMahon will act as an expert witness at the hearing. The federal government sends him 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes, totaling 11 ounces, every month. Storck said the program he receives the drug through was closed to new applicants in 1992. Storck said David Bearman, a medical marijuana specialist, and Chris Fichtner, psychiatrist and expert on medical marijuana, will also testify in support of legalizing the drug for medical proposes in Wisconsin. But not all legislators support medical marijuana legislation, specifically the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act — a bill in the Assembly that would permit those with debilitating medical conditions small amounts of marijuana. Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, said he is hesitant to support the bill because of the potential for recreational users to abuse the law.“I think the legislation leaves a huge loophole for those who want to experiment with marijuana,” Suder said. “Many of us are willing to take a look at the legislation, but the language needs to be tightened to prevent abuse.”The informal hearing is being held in room 411 South of the Capitol Wednesday at 11 a.m.Complete Title: Senate To Hear Pros, Cons of Legalizing Medical MarijuanaSource: Badger Herald (U of WI, Madison, WI Edu)Author: Jessi PolskyPublished: Wednesday, November 14, 2007Copyright: 2007 Badger HeraldContact: editor badgerherald.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:I.M.M.L.Y. NORML Marijuana Gets Heavy Support Woman Leads Fight for Marijuana

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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 16, 2007 at 08:55:21 PT
I'm looking forward to it too. I checked this morning and it still wasn't there.
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Comment #8 posted by RevRayGreen on November 16, 2007 at 08:52:11 PT
Much love to all
in Wisconsin, looking forward to the transcripts or video clips. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 14, 2007 at 21:01:01 PT
Experts Explain Health Benefits of Marijuana
By Jackie Johnson Wednesday, November 14, 2007AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (2:10 MP3): -- Lawmakers hear from experts at a capitol hearing about the medicinal use of marijuana.Dr. David Bearman is one of thousands of medical doctors who supports legalizing pot for patients."The fact of the matter is is that 75-to-80% of Americans in any poll done in the last 25 years has favored the legalization of medical marijuana."The California physician who graduated from the University of Wisconsin says it's next to impossible for patients suffering from debilitating pain to find a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana. One such victim was relieved to find Dr. Bearman."…broke down in tears and said 'You know I'm not a criminal. This is the only thing that works.' I mean, you be really put to tears yourself to hear the stories of some of these people who say 'I would commit suicide if it hadn't been for marijuana because it relieves my pain like nothing else.'"Dr. Bearman testified at an informational Health Committee hearing at the state capitol in support of the controversial drug. As for prescribing legal painkillers for patients in pain, Bearman says if they can find one that even works, there are usually too many side effects, so patients must take other medications to alleviate those side effects, only to create new ones, which need more meds. He says these people are not criminals."It's pretty absurd for the federal government to be expending precious federal dollars going around arresting people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and failed back syndrome." Dr. Bearman says he pre-screens each patient to make sure they have a well-documented, bona fide diagnosis. Opponents worry about the potential for abuse, saying people might use it for recreational use."Well I think that if we were to use that logic for all drugs we would have very few medications available for physicians to use. All drugs have an abuse potential."Bearman has a 40-year history as a professional in providing drug abuse treatment and prevention. He says the "potential for abuse" argument is "totally bogus." Meanwhile, Bearman says many people are using alternative medicines, so their doctors would be wise to be aware of the various medications their patient is taking. Dr. David Bearman is originally from Rice Lake, Wisconsin. He graduated from the UW in '63 before eventually finding his way to California.NOTE: Medical marijuana is currently legal in: Maine , New Hampshire , Rhode Island , Montana , Washington , Oregon , California , Nevada , Colorado , New Mexico , Alaska , and Hawaii . In Wisconsin, a poll conducted by Chamberlain Research Consultants showed a 75.7% support for legislation to permit patients with serious illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes with their physicians' approval.Copyright: 2007 Learfield Communications, Inc.URL:
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on November 14, 2007 at 16:56:12 PT
What happened?
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on November 14, 2007 at 07:16:33 PT
Gary, Jacki, George, Barbara!
You're in my heart and on my mind.Do well!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 14, 2007 at 07:15:49 PT
It's been a long and bumpy road but our time is coming. I really believe it. Have a great day at the Capitol!
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Comment #3 posted by Gary Storck on November 14, 2007 at 07:06:02 PT
Thanks FoM!
And I meant Capitol, not courthouse, lol. This is not Leah Vukmir's Assembly committee!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 14, 2007 at 07:00:24 PT

God Bless You and good luck today. Let's win now! 
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Comment #1 posted by Gary Storck on November 14, 2007 at 06:45:03 PT

Finally, the day is here
As not just a patient and activist, but a WI medical cannabis historian, I'm pleased as heck to be heading out to the Courthouse in a bit to meet up with the likes of folks like George McMahon, David Bearman, Chris Fichtner and Jacki Rickert! The first state senate hearing in 25 plus years is just hours away!
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