Victoria LaChapelle was once in so much pain that she couldn’t pick up her children. With the help of marijuana, she says, she’s now able to be an active mother and hold down a job.

“It’s given me my life back,” she told a state Senate committee at a June 12 public hearing.

LaChapelle says she suffers from arthritis, autoimmune disorders and fibromyalgia, the result of a bout of Lyme disease that went untreated. She was speaking against a Republican proposal that would give local and county governments the authority to prosecute marijuana possession cases that prosecutors decide are not worth the time and effort to pursue.

The bill has passed through both Assembly and Senate committees and awaits scheduling for floor votes.

“Droves of Wisconsinites are leaving this state because it’s going backwards, and I may have no choice but to follow them to protect my freedom, and my right to health, and my children’s right to have a mother that can function,” she told the lawmakers last month.

On Monday, the Madison-area mother of four announced that she’s making good on that threat. On the pro-marijuana website Ladybud, she announced that she’s moving to Colorado, where state voters legalized marijuana last year.

I wasn’t able to immediately track down LaChapelle’s phone number, but her blog post cites a number of reasons for her decision, chief among them the fear that Child Protective Services could pay her a visit and possibly even take away her kids.

“I have always said if you believe in something and choose to fight, you have to accept the consequences,” she writes.” I’d accept the consequences freely but I cannot accept what negative effects those consequences would have on my family. No matter how fearless I may feel, my children are afraid of losing their mother and for good reason as the threat of CPS action against families is very real.”

A nurse, she’s also worried that authorities could take away her ability to earn a living.

“Parents are being put on the abuse registry without ever having lost custody of their children,” she writes. “As a nurse, those consequences would strip me of my ability to adequately provide for my family and I’d never be able to practice again. How would my family survive without my income? It would take years to recover from such a devastating blow.”

Asked if LaChapelle's fears of being targeted by Child Protective Services were warranted, Joe Scialfa, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families, had this to say:

"There are many factors that go into whether or not an investigation is opened after there is a report made of child abuse or neglect. The overarching principal that is adhered to in making that decision is ensuring the safety of children."

LaChapelle’s decision to pursue a regimen of medical marijuana came after years of failed medical treatment.

“It took ten years of chronic pain and trial and error treatment with Big Pharma meds that resulted in disaster before I found the healing powers of cannabis,” she writes. “Ten years of my life were wasted and for 10 years my children had to live without a functional mother.”

LaChapelle, who considers herself a marijuana activist, says she’s struggled with the question of whether to move or to stay and fight in her home state, but ultimately decided that given the current political climate, for now the Badger State is a losing battle.

“I’m not moving in order to take the ‘easy way out,’ as I’ve heard some activists state about decisions like mine. It is a realistic necessity. I’m a mom first and I have to be the best mom I can be and if that means being seen as taking the ‘easy way out,’ then so be it. It’s worth it for my kids.”

Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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(24) comments

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

I remember the first time I heard of using medical marijuana. It was about 40 years ago. An older woman was buying antiques from my parents. To make a long story short, she said she'd been smoking pot at her doctor's suggestion for years because of her glaucoma.

About 30 years ago my then girlfriend's 70 year old parents were talking about several friends whose Dr.'s had told them that smoking pot would ease their pains with cancer. These folks weren't real fond of me, but they asked me if I could help their friends out.

24 years ago my dad was talking about meeting up with an old army buddy and his new wife. Turns out she was smoking pot, again at her Dr's recommendation, to relieve the side effects of illness. Prior to that point my dad had always been vehemently against pot. As he got to know her his opinions changed.

My point. We have at least four decades of anecdotal evidence showing that pot works, even if it is just a placebo effect. We also have four decades of older, conservative people whose opinions on the subject medical marijuana change as they see the impact the drug has on their friends. Maybe the time isn't today, but just as it has with gay marriage, but opinions are changing. Put medical marijuana to a vote in Wisconsin and I think it might just win.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

I completely agree, again!! :)

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

(This is Victoria here)
Unfortunately there's no way for residents to vote on a medical bill. If there were we would have had it way back in 2002 when polling showed 80% of Wisconsinites endorsed legalizing medical marijuana. A bill has been introduced (JRMMA bill 371) a few times since. It was blocked in committee by the same politicians that those 80% elected. There is another bill coming up this Fall sponsored by Taylor (D) and Erpenbach (D). Historically Dems and Reps alike have blocked the bills so we need support from BOTH sides as there are a few too many D.A.R.E. Dems that believe the same "Reefer Madness" propaganda that Republicans do. Julie Lassa (D) voted with (R)s to block it last time.

If anyone wants to support the bill and get it past the prohibitionists, PLEASE contact your Representatives and Senators! Also please support Americans for Safe Access (ASA)
and NORML.


Thank you for the support!
Tori

John Ehrlichman
John Ehrlichman

Legalization is coming a lot sooner than later. It's a matter of time before it leaves Schedule I. Middleoftheroad doesn't know what he's talking about, insurance companies don't pay for it in states that have legalized medical marijuana. He needs to do some research befor he orally breaks wind. In fact, middleof the road needs to change his "handle' to "flatus vocis." The biggest obstacle to any medical or legalization program in Wisconsin will be the liquor industry. Medical marijuana programs are simply "interim" until complete legalization occurs. And it will become legal.

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

Absolutely 100% true!

farming
farming

Droves of retired public employees flee WI because of high taxes.

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

Those taxes could be lowered and offset by the millions in tax revenue generated by a legal, taxed and regulated cannabis and hemp industry.

Jesus Chris
Jesus Chris

Have to applaud this mother who has the strength to follow her convictions. People who are ahead of the traditional thinking curve are always criticized by folks like middleoftheroad. If they choose to accept the Republican fear tactics instead of actual science, they would be best served to pull over to the side of the road, so that the rest of us can pass by with progress.

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

Probably the only time I've said this... Thank you,Jesus!- Tori LaChapelle

yodapug
yodapug

Thank you, Spooky Tooth for your insightful comment. Those of you naysayers, please understand that there are many different types of marijuana. True Medical Marijuana does not get you high. It does work to relieve pain a multitude of other ailments. My husband and I moved from Wisconsin to California so that we could legally use MM for our ailments. Please note that living in Cali is not ideal either. There is still a huge stigma connected to the use of marijuana be it medical or not. I don't smoke marijuana. I soak it in grape seed oil and take it by the tablespoon. It can also be soaked in coconut oil. We see a Naturopath once a year to be assessed and get our permission to use medical marijuana. It's definitely a benefit. My husband no longer eats Percocet daily to ease his pain. He rarely takes them anymore. Please educate yourself before opening your yap and commenting stupidly on something you know nothing about.

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

Thank you for speaking up! Your points are very accurate!

People using opiate pain meds- that are killing more people than cocaine and heroin COMBINED by the way- tend to get you "high" and that's why people become addicted. Proper use of cannabis (like the infusion you describe) helps people function at a much higher level than any opiate allows and has ZERO addictive properties. Opiates on the other hand have proven their addictiveness, physical and psychological. There are MANY types of cannabis and MANY ways to utilize it. No one should ever have to smoke it but in a black market, closeted environment people do not know those simple facts.

NotStupid
NotStupid

What else is Walker going to do to the people of Wisconsin. People being deprived of medical marijuana - women being deprived of abortions - education of our children in jeopardy, what's next???

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

1 - marijuana actually works to slow down tumor growth in lungs, breasts and brains.

2 - marijuana is a muscle relaxant and with antispasmodic qualities proven to be a very effecctive treatment to seizures.

3 - Very effective in treating migranes

4 - Effective treatment for glaucoma

5 - Effective treatment for multiple sclerois

6 - Effective treamtent for tourette's and OCD

7 - marijuanna is an alternative for Ritalin with no negative side effects

8 - marijuanna stops nausea, adominal pain and diarrhea

9 - marijuanna works to prevent Alzheimers

10 - its effective in treating premenstural syndrome

Marijuanna should be leagal and its should be taxed. Use the moeny for schools, drug education and drug treatments for real killers like cigarettes and alcohol.

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@spooky tooth;

Now, you know I have nothing against weed.

But having said that, how are trials with curing ideological myopia going?

The Gotch

TheRestOfTheStory
TheRestOfTheStory

Oh Corny,

Based on your consistent ideological commentary perhaps you should give it a try and tell us how the results turn out?

spooky tooth
spooky tooth

Grouch,

Have you been watching clips of refer madness on youtube again? Its propaganda and comedy all in one, like listening to Rush, Beck Hannity and ORielly distort the news.

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@spooky tooth, @TROTS, & @Crow Barr;

Based on your less than illuminating and humor-bereft replies, my best guess would be the trials haven't gone well

While I suspect youses prefer a different type of joint entirely, your posts unequivocally portend something diametrically opposed to my experience.

That weed can be a gateway drug which only leads to further misguideological entrenchment.

One might say a oneway philosphical cul-de-sac that, like the Hotel California, you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

Actually Crow they'll let you leave. Heck, they'll even encourage it; just pay your tab for once.

The Gotch

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

The government itself has proven that cannabis IS NOT a gateway drug! That is a D.A.R.E talking point! The DEA can't point to a single study that proves that fallacy. Please research the matter before repeating a lie...its quite embarrassing to look an ignorant sheeple.

Crow Barr
Crow Barr

Your cousin in the edit room must have deleted my comment, I don't follow your blah-blah-blah about my bar time.

This Hotel California is kind of like your comments, you can hope they say something and end but they never do. Our book club calls that blah-blah-blah!

Cornelius Gotchberg
Cornelius Gotchberg

@beauteous1980;

Don't you people understand sarcasm? I don't think it's a gateway drug, and NOT because the government says so.

If I did, I wouldn't twist one every now and again.

@Crow Barr;

Know this Mon Frere; I haven't ever and WON'T ever report abuse on any comment.

Why? because that's a weak Lefty act. If a Lefty doesn't like a comment, they believe no one else should like it, so shouldn't read it, thus it gets reported.

I'd LOVE to see the ideological breakdown of comments that get reported, and the commenters that report abuse the most. I bet the reporters are but a select few perpetually offended Lefties that feel strongly that only THEIR voices ought be heard.

None of my cousins work in the edit room as I suspect the edit room has certain minimum standards to which they must adhere.

You belong to a 'book club? Shouldn't members of a 'book club' have open minds AND know how to read?

The Gotch

ThreadKiller
ThreadKiller

We've narrowed the problem down to a complex known as Republican Serfdom. It's a common malady among those people who vote Republican because they think trickle down actually work.

" the healing power of cannabis"?
This is not even what medical marijuana was supposed to be used for. Other than some quack who is just compliant with her no Dr. would perscribe it. She is just using it as an excuse to smoke dope and wants us to pay for it. "leaving in droves" ? If it is people like her that are leaving then it is a good thing. what can we do to cause more of this?

Mad-son
Mad-son

Maybe not in WI would a doctor risk breaking an archaic and ignorant law to prescribe it.

Your assumptions are willfully ignornant and harmful to those that get pain relief from Cannibus use, as well as those who suffer in particular from glacuoma and cancer treatment loss of appetitie. . BTW, many medical patients don't smoke it, but eat it in prepared foods.

Wisconsin is leaning more like the Southen States, every day...Time to reverse course in 2014.

beauteous1980
beauteous1980

I could list the HUNDREDS of peer-reviewed medical studies that have proven your beliefs WRONG but they'd probably get taken down for spamming. There are HUNDREDS of health organizations and medical professional groups that would beg to differ with you as well including the AMA. Please educate yourself.

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