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Wisconsin lawmakers push to legalize medical marijuana

Wisconsin lawmakers push to legalize medical marijuana. (WLUK/Tim Flanigan)

MADISON (WLUK) --- Democratic state lawmakers are looking to legalize medical marijuana.

In Madison Monday, State Representative Chris Taylor and State Senator Jon Erpenbach laid out a plan that will need Republican support to pass.

"Most of these are still full," said Steve Acheson, showing off a number of prescription pill bottles.

Acheson, a veteran, says he suffers from PTSD and has had several surgeries related to his service.

"This represents the amount of pills I was prescribe by the VA in a course of over three weeks,” he said, shaking the large bag of prescriptions.

During a news conference with Democratic State Lawmakers, Acheson said cannabis helps dull his pain.

"Almost the instant the drug entered my body, I could just feel everything relaxing and the pain going away and the anxiety going away,” explained Acheson.

"This will lead to law abiding citizens who have chronic pain, and are dealing with health issues we can't begin to imagine, to put them in a situation where they don't have to break the law anymore," said State Senator Jon Erpenbach, (D-Middleton).

Erpenbach along with Taylor re-introduced the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act. The bill was introduced last session, however it stalled.

"States all over this country are legalizing, red states, blue states, in rural areas, in urban areas, people want medical marijuana legalized and we will not stop this fight,” said Taylor (D-Madison).

Erpenbach and Taylor also introduced a proposal for a non-binding statewide referendum relating to medical marijuana.

“It's not binding, it wouldn't become law, it would just let us know what Wisconsinites think," Erpenbach explained.

Despite the push for legalization, some republicans like Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steinke, are not sold on the idea.

"I'm really concerned about the ability to become a recreational drug and I don't think we need more intoxicated people on the road,” said Steinke, (R-Kaukauna)

At a stop in Brown County, Governor Scott Walker did not say if he would support the bill, but did say he's heard from law enforcement agencies who are against legalizing medical marijuana.

“They've said that this could be a gateway, and at a time where we already have a crisis with opioids and other abuse in the state," said Walker.

Currently 28 states have legalized medical marijuana, including; Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.


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