Wisconsin has always had great opposition when it comes to marijuana legislative reform. Officials have openly blocked and opposed every piece of legislation that would allow the Wisconsin marijuana laws to soften. Which is why the most recent displays of support from certain GOP officials has been making headlines. The news signals the first bit of hope that many with debilitating disabilities in the state may slowly but surely get relief from seizures and pain. Many people, including parents of children suffering from seizures are relieved by the changing sentiment. Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent, was especially happy as she has been looking at ways to reduce opiate addiction in the state.
Statistics Supporting Medical Marijuana Over Opioids
A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that states that have legalized medical marijuana, experienced a 25 percent reduction in deaths that were caused by opioid overdose. A 2016 University of Michigan study also showed that patients who use marijuana to treat chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction for their need to use opioid pain medication.
Wisconsin Marijuana for Medical Purposes
GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos communicated to reporters this week that he would consider supporting marijuana use for medicinal purposes. “If you get a prescription to use an opiate or you get a prescription to use marijuana, to me I think that’s the same thing,” says Vos. “I would be open to that.” The position sent hope to Wisconsin marijuana advocates who have been working towards developing a medical marijuana program. Supporters have wanted to use marijuana as a safer, less addictive alternative to opiates and painkillers which can be deadly and highly addictive. The drastically changed sentiment from Vos shows that, with time and the proper education, officials are open to looking at the issue with new eyes.
A Soft Opening with CBD Oil
Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard has made plans to sponsor a bill that would make it legal to possess CBD oil, a compound in marijuana that relieves pain as well as seizures. The oil doesn’t contain THC which is the psychoactive ingredient that creates the high. It simply works as a relaxant for seizures and a painkiller. While Wanggaard is happy to sponsor this bill, he is a little more hesitant about approving more. He has stated that he’d be open to supporting the legalization of Wisconsin marijuana for medicinal purposes in the future but not right now. He also stated that it would have to have the appropriate limitations placed on the law.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Gov. Scott Walker have been clear about their opposition of marijuana. They have said that they will not support marijuana reform. This may change in time. The softening stance from Vos and Wanggaard points to some hope that, step by step, Wisconsin will receive it’s medical marijuana infrastructure. In June, a poll conducted by Marquette Law School found that 59 percent of voters in Wisconsin believe that marijuana should be fully legalized and treated like alcohol. With public support so strong behind the plant’s legalization, it is only a matter of time before the politicians catch up.