Pubdate: Fri, 14 Mar 2014
Source: Marshfield News-Herald, The (WI)
Copyright: 2014 Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
Author: Gary Storck
Note: Gary Storck of Madison is co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal 
Yet?, online at, which advocates for the legalization 
of medicinal marijuana.


Lawmakers Like Rep. John Spiros Should Inform Themselves About Therapeutic Pot

After more than 75 years of marijuana prohibition, questioning the 
reefer madness misinformation that has sustained it for so long has 
proven to be difficult for some.

Take Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, for example. Spiros, a former 
police officer, was so convinced by emotional committee testimony 
that a form of medical marijuana, cannabidiol or CBD, can help 
relieve seizures in children, that he helped vote the bill, Assembly 
Bill 726, out of committee in a bipartisan 7-1 vote.

Despite his pro-marijuana vote, Spiros recently told the Wisconsin 
Radio Network that there's still a lot of confusion about what CBD 
actually is and he believes many lawmakers are confusing it with the 
debate over medical marijuana. While CBD comes from the same plant, 
he told WRN, "This is not medical marijuana; it's just an oil derived 
from that plant."

As a former police officer, Spiros knows he would not have accepted 
his own explanation that CBD hemp oil is not medical cannabis had 
someone tried it while he was serving. This oil is indeed derived 
from the cannabis plant and cannabidiol, like the plant it is 
extracted from, remains a federal Schedule One drug classed as having 
no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

If Spiros doesn't feel comfortable calling it medical marijuana, he 
could refer to it by its scientific name, medical cannabis. What is 
clear is that cannabis prohibition has led to the public being far 
more informed about medical cannabis than most lawmakers, to the 
public's great detriment.

While A.B. 726 offers potential relief to some children with 
seizures, another current bill, the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis 
Act, is a comprehensive bill that provides relief to a broad group of 
patients from children with seizures to seniors with Alzheimer's, and 
a wide array of patients in between. Rickert, the bill's namesake, is 
a Mondovi grandmother who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and 
other extremely painful and debilitating medical conditions.

Twenty states and Washington D.C. have already legalized the medical 
use of cannabis and more are on the way. Florida, with more than 19 
million residents, is voting on it in November and it is expected to pass.

Wisconsin patients cannot afford further delay, especially when the 
delay is due to lawmakers following their own deeply set 
misconceptions rather than both the science and the public's 
overwhelming support. It has already been 17 years since Rickert led 
a weeklong "Journey for Justice" from Mondovi to the state Capitol in 
Madison to launch a medical cannabis bill sponsored by then-state 
represenative, now-U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.

We owe it to our seniors, veterans, our sick, disabled and dying to 
get this relief in their hands.

While medical cannabis legislation is likely again dead for the 
session, let us hope that next session finds lawmakers both more 
informed about medical cannabis and more in tune with the folks they represent.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom