Wisconsin debates medical marijuana - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Wisconsin debates medical marijuana

Braden Hand Braden Hand
Tim Thompson Tim Thompson

By Bob Schaper

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WREX) -- Wisconsin considers a medical marijuana law. If it passes the state would join 13 others which have similar laws on the books.

Some people think the drug helps relieve medical symptoms. But some doctors say a lot more testing is needed.

Braden hand suffers from juvenile diabetes and epilepsy. When he lived in California he could legally get marijuana for his symptoms.

"And after it being prescribed to me I would rarely have seizures, maybe three, four times a year at most."

Now that he's in Janesville he says things have gotten worse. Paramedics have been to his home dozens of times, and he owes over $50,000 in medical bills.

"It really is simply a case of it being medically beneficial and not, you know, people wanting to get high," he says. 

Dr. Christopher Fichtner, who practices in Illinois and California, says cannabis was used as a medicine for thousands of years, up until the 1940s in America. "It's good for the management of certain types of pain, especially neurological pain," he says.

He says worries about patients getting high only confuse the issue. "Does it mean that they feel better. What's wrong with that?"

But the Wisconsin Medical Society is opposed to changing the law until more testing is done. It says smoked marijuana should not be used until more data is available.

But Tim Thompson says waiting makes no sense. "It's inhuman and should be criminal."

He suffers from bulging discs in his back and has trouble sleeping at night. "My doctor said he would sign a medical marijuana card for me," he says.

There is a hearing in Madison this Tuesday to consider the bill. If it is passed by the assembly and senate, Gov. Jim Doyle says he will sign it into law.

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