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The Debate on Medical Marijuana Legalization in Wisconsin: A Closer Look

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Mason Walker
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The Debate on Medical Marijuana Legalization in Wisconsin: A Closer Look

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Wisconsin, one of the few states yet to legalize medical marijuana, has been grappling with a contentious bill aimed at doing so. However, the bill is considered by many to be too restrictive and has faced opposition from various quarters. Despite the hurdles, the state's Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has announced a public hearing to build support for the bill, albeit not until after the Assembly has adjourned for the year.

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An Overview of the Controversial Bill

The proposed bill has been criticized for its conservative approach towards the legalization of medical marijuana. It restricts access to only those severely ill, and only five state-run dispensaries would be allowed to distribute the drug. Moreover, the proposal bans smokable marijuana, another point of contention.

The bill has faced opposition from both ends of the political spectrum. Senate Republicans have voiced their objections to state-run dispensaries, while Democrats have been pushing for full legalization of the drug. Despite the pushback, the bill's supporters argue that it is a necessary step towards full legalization.

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Wisconsin's Position in the National Context

With 38 states having legalized medical marijuana and 24 states legalizing recreational use, Wisconsin remains an outlier. Many believe that the state's strict regulations and conservative stance have hampered progress towards legalization. The state's position could change, however, with the public hearing that aims to build support for the bill's passage in the next session.

Interestingly, Wisconsin's governor Tony Evers has been a proponent of cannabis legalization since assuming office in 2019. Evers has voiced his support for the legalization of medical marijuana as a step towards full legalization, aligning his views with those of the Democrats.

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Who Can Access Medical Marijuana According to the Current Proposal?

Under the current proposal, the availability of marijuana would be limited to people diagnosed with specific diseases and conditions. These include cancer, HIV or AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, severe muscle spasms, and chronic pain or nausea. Additionally, patients with a terminal illness and less than a year to live would also be eligible.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Marijuana Legalization in Wisconsin

Despite the bill being declared dead, the fight for medical marijuana legalization in Wisconsin is far from over. The public hearing announced by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos indicates a willingness to build support for the bill's passage in future sessions. Meanwhile, Governor Tony Evers' support for legalization could potentially influence a shift in the state's stance.

As one of the last states to legalize medical marijuana, Wisconsin's journey towards legalization will be closely watched by advocates and opponents alike. The outcome of this debate could have significant implications for the state's healthcare system and its residents who are battling severe illnesses.

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