Pubdate: Tue, 08 Jan 2008
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2008 The Capital Times
Author: Gary Storck


Dear Editor: I was sorry to read of the passing of  former Wisconsin 
Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus. Dreyfus  signed Wisconsin's first medical 
marijuana bill into  law on April 19, 1982.

As a glaucoma patient fighting each day to save my  precious 
eyesight, I had been using cannabis for 10  years and had lobbied for 
the bill. The Therapeutic  Cannabis Research Act passed both houses 
easily. Similar legislation was passed in more than two-thirds  of U.S. states.

Unfortunately, these bills were written with the  expectation that 
the federal government would supply  the program's medical marijuana. 
With federal  authorities unwilling to supply marijuana to sick 
and  dying U.S. citizens, the law became symbolic.

While Dreyfus remained a supporter of medical marijuana  in his later 
years, many of the Republican legislators  who followed him in state 
government have blocked  medical marijuana legislation.

This session, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act  is awaiting 
action in the Assembly's Health and  Healthcare Reform Committee. 
Chair Leah Vukmir,  R-Wauwatosa, a nurse, has stated that the bill 
will not  receive a hearing. If the bill does not receive a  hearing 
soon, it will die in committee like previous  attempts dating back 
more than a decade.

Polling has established that popular support for  medical marijuana 
exceeds 80 percent in Wisconsin. As  an advocate for medical 
cannabis, I constantly receive  calls from patients and family 
members who indicate  there is a crisis in pain management in our 
state. I  know the good folks who call me represent only the tip  of 
the iceberg.

Memo to the GOP leadership: The sick and dying are not  your enemy. I 
get calls from Republicans too. Let's get  this done, this session, 
in honor of the memory of not  only a man ahead of his time, Gov. Lee 
Sherman Dreyfus,  but also the thousands of Wisconsinites who died in 
pain. Please make passage of the Jacki Rickert Medical  Marijuana Act 
a true priority when the Legislature  reconvenes Jan. 15!

Gary Storck,  Is My Medicine Legal YET?, Madison
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom