Gary Storck: 1982 saw high point in bipartisanship on medical marijuana

Gary Storck: 1982 saw high point in bipartisanship on medical marijuana

Dear Editor: Paul Fanlund's article "In UW, the 'Jiffy Lube' GOP found its latest demon," highlights the current state of dysfunction in Wisconsin government. But many of us still remember a time when politicians of all backgrounds, including Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, worked together for the common good.

A prime example of that time is found in the years former Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus was in office. Those who remember the Dreyfus years point to a time in Wisconsin politics very unlike today when representatives did not vote along party lines but actually decided issues on their merits.

A high point came in 1982 when a bipartisan majority of lawmakers approved the Therapeutic Cannabis Research Act (TCRA), which was signed into law by Dreyfus. Dreyfus had initially opposed the bill but came around to support it.

The TCRA established a program where glaucoma and cancer patients could obtain medical marijuana with support of their physician. It remains on the books today but due to the refusal of federal authorities to share federal medicinal pot supplies, the promise of the TCRA remains unfulfilled.

Ellis, then an Assembly representative, was one of the 77 "aye" votes. Ellis was joined by a diverse bipartisan group that included Mordecai Lee, Tom Loftus, John Norquist, Mary Panzer, Tommy Thompson and a host of others.

In the Senate, Lynn Adelman, William Bablitch, Tim Cullen and Scott McCallum joined others in casting an emphatic 32-1 vote in favor.

In 1982, Wisconsin lawmakers put the state firmly on record as supporting the rights of patients to obtain medical cannabis with physician approval. It's time for today's lawmakers and governor to join together on issues Wisconsinites agree on. A good start would be to finish what was started in 1982 by passing legislation that will allow patients legal access to medical cannabis without further delay.

Gary Storck

co-founder, Is My Medicine Legal YET?


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