Wisconsin lawmakers welcome medical cannabis bill


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On Friday, September 20, lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a medical cannabis bill that would permit patients’ access to pharmaceutical-grade products, so long as they register for enrolment with the state.

Lawmakers also pushed for the development of a licensing system for cannabis cultivators. Wisconsin stands to join 33 other states that have legalized the plant for medical purposes, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota; recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states.

Senator Jon Erpenbach, Sen. Patrick Testin and Representative Chris Taylor are the authors of Wisconsin’s medical cannabis bill. Collectively, they released a statement urging lawmakers to lift statewide restrictions that have left in-need patients with no choice but to turn to the black market.

“Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment,” said Testin – a Republican. Erpenbach and Taylor are both Democrats.

During the last legislative station, Testin co-sponsored a bill for the legalisation of industrial hemp farming; a proposal signed into effect in 2017 by the former governor, Scott Walker.

Wisconsin medical cannabis bill would require registry with Department of Health Services

If Wisconsin’s medical cannabis bill manages to gain approval, patients would first be required to register with the Department of Health Services before they can receive their medicine.

A doctor must first diagnose a patient with one of the qualifying conditions to determine whether or not they are suitable candidates for medical cannabis in Wisconsin. Examples of some qualifying conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS, cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A registration fee of $250 would be required from each applicant, as well as an annual compulsory fee of $250. Unfortunately, individuals who have previously been convicted of violent crime will not have access to Wisconsin’s medical cannabis program.

Wisconsin medical cannabis bill would launch licensing system

Based on the details of Wisconsin’s medical cannabis proposal, someone who cultivates over a dozen cannabis plants would be considered a grower of the state and would need to obtain a license to grow weed legally.

The rules fall under the licensing system that would be launched if the bill passes. Wisconsin’s licensing system for medical cannabis growers would be set up via the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The initial application fee would be $250, followed by a compulsory annual fee of $5,000. License holders would be prohibited from cultivating the plant for personal or family use. All plants cultivated in accordance with the department’s proposed system will be designated for use in Wisconsin’s medical cannabis industry.

Democrats have long been pushing for cannabis legalization

The subject of cannabis reform has cropped up in every legislative session over the last 10 years. Democrats are striving to make changes, but with a Republican-dominated Legislature, cannabis reform faces an uphill battle.

In spite of a lack of support from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has openly discussed medical cannabis legalization in Wisconsin. Most recently, he revealed that he would be grafting on the matter this fall.