When Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, was first elected to the state Legislature in 1998, Gary Storck, a routine medicinal marijuana user and advocate for its legalization, was Erpenbach’s first constituent visit.

Erpenbach calls Storck, the co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal Yet?, the most persistent constituent in Wisconsin. He has been lobbying Erpenbach and others to legalize a drug he has been using for 41 years to treat his glaucoma.

“Medical cannabis is all but mainstream now,” said Storck, 58, at a Capitol press conference Thursday.

Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, are the co-sponsors of a bill known as the Jacki Rickert bill which would legalize medical marijuana. With a Republican-controlled legislature, there is serious question whether the bill will gain any support.

Rickert, in a wheelchair and speaking slowly and softly, said she's angry that veterans come back from fighting wars only to fight another war to get medicine that would help them cope with the after-effects of combat.

"What is (getting) high?" she asked. "Living or gaining weight?"

Erpenbach said opponents cite concerns that legalizing marijuana will be a slippery slope for patients and others to use the drug for recreational purposes.

“I’ve always found (that line of thinking) disrespectful,” Erpenbach said. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to actually read the bill.”

Under the measure, medicinal marijuana could be prescribed to patients with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS-HIV, post traumatic stress disorder, seizures, severe pain and nausea, and muscle spasms.

Taylor said the bill would allow patients to grow up to 10 marijuana plants and have up to 3 ounces in their possession. Patients who choose not to grow their own would be able to purchase medicinal marijuana with a doctor’s prescription at state-regulated, non-profit “compassionate care centers.”


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(15) comments


the greatest plant in the universe is almost free for all, LET FREEDOM RING!!!

hundreds of thousands die every year from alcohol and tobacco, every year! not one death from marijuana, ever...cannabis is about to revolutionize the planet, LOVE and FREEDOM


you're only 20 years behind us Wisconsin, from 0 states to half the country, don't worry, it's almost legal in your state too, just a matter of time


I agree with Billie above. The line between "medical" and recreation is getting blurred and that is hurting the people who actually want medicine.

One particular issue that I see is using the word "marijuana" to describe anything and everything that comes from the cannabis plant. Some of the medicines are actually isolated purified oils of the plant. For example CBD is an oil chosen because it does not have psychoactive properties.

Distinguishing between "marijuana" and drugs made from marijuana is also important in terms for the US Government's patent interest. There has been a lot of uproar about the US government "owning" marijuana by virtue of the patent system. Not true. But, the government does on a patent (US 6,630,507) for using certain isolated compounds in marijuana to treat some diseases and conditions. I'm providing a link to an article about that below.

In short, I think it's important to use care in distinguishing between the multiple different substances at issue instead of using one al-encompassing word. The medical crowd would have a much easier time fighting for access to purified, medical CBD instead of "legalized marijuana."


Mike Myszka
Mike Myszka

The Democrats couldn't get this bill out of committee a few years ago when they controlled everything. What makes them think they'll get it through now when they control nothing?


control nothing? lol,,,,that's funny


Your "right" to live in a drug free environment ended with prohibition.


The medical marijuana crowd is being lumped together with the recreational use crowd to their detriment. You really need to separate these 2 issues in the public eye. I won't support medical marijuana if it is a stepping stone to legalizing recreational use. The supporters of this have to draw that line if they want broad support.

Recreational use brings up a host of issues that medical users do not trigger. For example, where does my right to live in a drug free environment end and your right to have a pot party in the next apartment begin? How does an apartment manager protect both the right to party on and the right to a drug free/smoke free environment? You don't see medical users inviting their friends over to smoke blunts. Until proponents address this, I'm afraid that the battle is still uphill.


This is looking good. There are a few Republicans that are in support of this but are waiting for more support from the GOP to come out of the Cannabis closet. Make the calls folks send those emails lets be proactive in this fight for Medical Cannabis in Wisconsin!!

Mike Myszka
Mike Myszka

Umm, hate to break it to ya', but they couldn't get this bill out of committee a few years ago when the Democrats controlled everything. What makes you think they'll get it through now, when they control nothing?


In other news the tavern league has announced that it will be holding fundraising parties for all state representatives.


It is important to build support for medical marijuana now because the issue will not be going away. One year from now, the election of 2014 will determine a new government for the State of Wisconsin. Another medical marijuana bill will be proposed then, as well, and every year thereafter until patients who gain relief from medical marijuana are not persecuted by law enforcement within the State of Wisconsin.


As a person with 20 years of severe chronic pain following a car accident, I am unable to take any opioid medication (they give me migraines), so am greatly heartened by this bill. I have no illusions about the bills ability to pass now, but the many conditions that medical marijuana helps crosses all political lines. Perhaps if our extreme Republican legislators look around, they will find many of their family members, friends, and cohorts with the same medical issues and in just as much need as I am for medical marijuana. Cannabis, less harmful than alcohol, is helping so many in other states. I continue to wait for its legalization in Wisconsin.


Will the doctors offering the prescriptions be the same ones who gave the teachers sick notes to miss school during the protests?


If you've ever had a close relative screaming in pain due to the end stages cancer- while you weep out of frustration and an inability to help-oh wait--guess that life lesson is still coming.


The hallmark of socipathy is a lack of empathy.


Good luck with that...this state is soooooooo progressive these days...

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