It’s another year and another chance for Wisconsin lawmakers to get marijuana policy right—or at least closer to right. This year advocates are pushing for the passage of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, first brought before the state’s lawmakers in 2009. Now, supporters are hoping that growing acceptance of marijuana across the country will help push the legislation through.
In 2009, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act never made it out of committee. But this week, supporters showed up en masse to show lawmakers that the people of Wisconsin want them to act swiftly on the measure this time around.
“This is a bill that’s about making sure people who are struggling from really debilitating illness can get help,” said sponsoring Rep. Christ Taylor (D-Madison). “The country really has moved much faster on this issue than public policy makers. 77% of people in a 2011 poll support medical marijuana, so the public opinion is very supportive but the policies have been slow.”
While Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, 18 states and the District of Columbia now have medical marijuana laws on the books. Still, some lawmakers are resistant.
In addition to being what the majority of voters want, the legislation could save and even bring in some significant revenue. One advocate, Dennis Brennan with the Ben Masel Project, intends to show lawmakers how they are losing out to other neighboring states. Some Wisconsin citizens have actually traveled to nearby Oregon to become registered medical marijuana users. They are paying the state of Oregon about $380 for their license and then bringing it home to Wisconsin. This is money that could be going into Wisconsin’s coffers.
According to Brennan, these same medical marijuana patients have then used their Oregon registration to fight criminal pot charges faced back in Wisconsin, and they’ve done it successfully.
“Since we don’t have voter referendum we have to show legislators that people really want this,” said Brennan. “Money is leaving the state, and if we can show that flow, it will give them a reason to vote for it.”
If you support medical marijuana, you are asked to inform your state legislators—let them know their constituents want it.
If, however, you are caught with marijuana and are now facing criminal charges, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today to discuss your charges and your legal options.