by Benjamin Yount
The latest pitch for legalized marijuana in Wisconsin is getting a sour reception from marijuana supporters at the State Capitol.
Republican Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Tomahawk, and Rep. Patrick Snyder, R- Schofield, on Wednesday introduced legislation that would create a new medical marijuana program.
“To me, a conversation on health care access leads directly to a conversation about medical marijuana,” Felzkowski said. “This is a matter of permitting an available, recognized pain alleviation tool to be used by Wisconsinites who are undergoing grueling medical treatments, facing daily chronic suffering, or struggling with the debilitating effects of PTSD. This bill lays out the framework for a well-regulated industry that empowers health care providers and patients, all while keeping public safety at the forefront.”
Republicans have led the opposition to marijuana legalization in Wisconsin for years. The state currently doesn’t have any legal avenues for marijuana.
So it was somewhat surprising to see opposition to Felzkowski’s medical marijuana plan from Democrats in Madison.
Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, on Wednesday said she cannot support Felzkowski’s proposal.
“The most dangerous thing about cannabis is that it is illegal. I appreciate that more folks are coming to the table to address cannabis prohibition including my Republican colleagues – however this policy is not the direction Wisconsin should go,” Agad said in a statement. “Wisconsin will best move forward through fully legalized cannabis for adult, responsible usage. That is where I am putting my time and energy.”
Agard, who has been one of the most vocal marijuana supporters in the state, said Felzkowski’s medical marijuana program would allow for liquid, oil, pill, tincture, or topicals, but not plant or inhalants.
“[Felzkowski’s legislation] only addresses a small fraction of those who will benefit from a legal medicinal market,” Agard said. “It prioritizes pharmaceutical companies, not our farmers or our Main Streets.”
Felzkowski’s legislation would create a Medical Marijuana Regulatory Commission housed under the Department of Revenue. She said the Commission will “oversee a tightly regulated control structure, administering licenses, enforcing the law, and determining most aspects of the medical marijuana industry in Wisconsin.”
Any money made from the sale of medical pot would be earmarked drug and alcohol abuse, prevention, and treatment programs.
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