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Lawmakers Reintroduce Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

Opponents Say Medical Legalization Opens Door To Recreational Legalization

Eric Risberg/AP Photo

Two Democratic state lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, are sponsoring two proposals aimed at legalizing cannabis for medical use. The first, the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act, would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The second bill would authorize a statewide advisory referendum allowing citizens to weigh in on whether they support medical legalization.

“The people of the state know we must legalize medical marijuana,” Taylor said at a press conference Monday in the Capitol.

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Erpenbach has introduced similar plans in the Capitol for the past 10 years. He said opponents who argue the plan opens the door to legalizing recreational marijuana are making “excuses.”

“Having dealt with this issue for 10 years now, quite frankly I’m pretty sick of it,” he said of the opposing argument. “It’s cold, it’s callous, it’s calculated, it’s stupid.”

Steve Acheson, a veteran who has used cannabis to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, also spoke in support of the proposal. He said he’s tired of living in the “shadows of society” because of his medicinal marijuana use.

“Those who have put their lives on the line for this state and country deserve the right to have access to safe, non-addictive and, most importantly, effective medication to treat their service-connected injuries,” Acheson said.

Similar legislation introduced during the last legislative session never received a hearing in the House or Senate.

Gov. Scott Walker said last month he doesn’t support legalizing medical marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald also voiced his opposition to legalizing medical marijuana, and to the advisory referendum, to the Associated Press on Monday.