Dear Editor: Appearing on WISN's "UpFront," state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he doesn't support medical marijuana, and Wisconsin should watch what happens in other states that have approved various uses before taking any action.
Those of us with long memories have been watching those states since California first legalized medical use in 1996, and now 33 states currently allow legal access. We've heard this all before, and it is clear Fitzgerald feels no obligation to act on the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites' views that medical cannabis should be legal.
A Nov. 25, 2009 Capital Times article, written just after the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA) was introduced, reported that although still opposed, Fitzgerald's position "appeared to be softening." Fitzgerald aide Kimber Liedl was quoted as saying, "With the AMA's recent recommendation to study marijuana further, Scott's interested in seeing some of the research that will come out of that." That was the last we heard of Fitzgerald's "interest" in medical cannabis research.
After the JRMMA failed to pass in 2010, I filed an open records request with Fitzgerald's office, seeking records of constituents who had contacted him regarding the JRMMA. These records showed that there were 191 letters from his district, all in support. Not one single constituent expressed opposition.
A 31-year old suffering from fibrous dysplasia was one of those who reached out to Fitzgerald. Opiates did not relieve the pain but cannabis did, without the addiction problems of opiates.
There was a letter from an amputee stating that cannabis relieved his phantom limb pain that other medications did not touch. There were letters in support from doctors and nurses.
In 2010, Dane County held an advisory referendum on medical cannabis that gained 75.49% of the vote. In the six Dane County wards of Fitzgerald's district, the senator was easily outpolled by referendum yes votes.
In the Nov. 6, 2018 election, yes votes on Dane County's adult use marijuana advisory referendum exceeded votes for Fitzgerald by a nearly 62-38% margin in the now 13 wards where his senate district and a portion of eastern Dane County overlap.
One thing is clear: Fitzgerald has no interest in following public opinion regarding medical cannabis support in Wisconsin, not even from his own constituents. Why should one man continue to withhold this medicine from the supermajority of Wisconsinites who wanted medical cannabis legalized long ago?
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