Wisconsin legislators to reform medical marijuana proposals - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin legislators to reform medical marijuana proposals

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Jennifer Shilling Jennifer Shilling
Jill Billings Jill Billings
Judi Zabel Judi Zabel

A total of 28 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form.

That list includes Minnesota and most recently, Florida, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and Ohio.

With opioid use on the rise both in Wisconsin and across the country to combat severe pain, the question is, would medical marijuana provide relief for those suffering from chronic pain and illness?

"Studies show that some of the states that have moved towards medical marijuana that their opioid addiction has decreased and has dropped. So it's a way to combat and to look at some of those issues," said Jennifer Shilling with the 32nd District.

Rep. Jill Billings with the 95th Assembly District said there's currently a number of pieces of legislation set to be addressed during the 2017-2018 session in Madison.

"I know that a lot of docs that I've talked to in my area have some problems with medical marijuana because it hasn't been studied by the FDA and they're concerned about effects, especially for children," said Billings.

Previous Wisconsin legislation proposed creating a program for seriously ill residents in the state, but failed to pass through the committee process, never receiving a floor vote.

"I signed onto the piece that asks for a referendum so we can find out what people in Wisconsin want," added Billings.

Despite efforts by legislators, there's still research and regulation that needs to be adhered to from a health perspective.

"They're eating too much or they don't know what the right dosage is.Or that head high versus the body high and so we're seeing lots of marijuana overdoses. People are dying, people are jumping off balconies," said Judi Zabel, Health Educator with the La Crosse County Health Department.

Zabel added that the measure of health is to be physically, socially, and emotionally well and while medical marijuana may provide temporary relief, she stressed it's important to evaluate if this is a road Wisconsinites want to go down.

Rep. Melissa Sargent of Madison plans to introduce a reformed marijuana policy during this session, which will include more educational components geared towards students. These will be similar to the current alcohol and tobacco lessons taught in school in order to educate students on the negative side effects and health repercussions of the product.

MORE INFORMATION: Wisconsin State Legislature

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