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Wisconsin medical marijuana hearing testimony begs Legislators for compassion

MADISON: Those who attended or watched the standing room only 8 hour Dec. 15 Combined Health Committee hearing on AB554/SB368, the Jacki Rickert MMJ Act (JRMMA), saw plenty of testimony that revealed how cannabis can help when conventional medications and treatments fail to work or myriad side effects render them intolerable. The JRMMA is sponsored by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee).

An examination of some of the written testimony submitted by those unable to attend, or expanding on testimony from those who did, reveals more such stories. Others lament how current laws are forcing them to choose between the law and a quality of life.

There was a two sentence letter from a son saying he “hates the idea of his 58-year old disabled school teacher mother being a criminal”. A man from the Northwoods wrote his wife had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. She had used it legally in Washington State where they had formerly lived. A young woman with MS wrote how cannabis eased her symptoms and that she didn’t yet live in agony, but many Wisconsin MS patients already did.

A former Navy corpsman confined to a wheelchair by spinal injuries touted how cannabis helped his pain. Another disabled vet with a service connected injury that forced him to use a wheelchair had exhausted all legal treatment options. Only cannabis helped. Just as at the hearing, “only cannabis worked and conventional meds hurt more than helped” were common themes. It was echoed again by a middle aged woman from the Fox Valley who wrote she had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), the same rare connective disorder as Jacki Rickert. EDS is covered under the JRMMA.

There was a letter from a former minister, a doctor using it for Crohn’s disease and a man whose mom had died of cancer in 2001 and how she hated narcotics. Two addiction doctors wrote letters supporting it. There were letters from people with severe back pain. One pain sufferer said he had daily pain levels of 8, and was caught between the law and pain contracts that left him open to losing his medications.

When the time comes to vote for the JRMMA, these are some of the people legislators will be voting for or against: It’s really that simple. These patients’ only agenda is self-preservation. Why someone who is healthy would question that is a good question itself. Denying medicine for political motives while trotting out the same tired reasons again and again is unconscionable..


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