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The Wisconsin Republican Party recently announced a medical cannabis proposal that would permit marijuana use within the state for the first time. This plan would help Wisconsin catch up to neighboring states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois, all of which have legalized marijuana.
The bill is a limited starting point that has received mixed responses, but many view it positively as a step forward for Wisconsinites.
Stipulations of the New Medical Cannabis Proposal
In a unique move, Wisconsin would open five state-run dispensaries that would sell non-smokable marijuana products (such as edibles, tinctures, pills, gels, etc). These products will only be sold to people with qualifying medical conditions, including:
- HIV or AIDS
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- severe chronic pain
- severe muscle spasms
- severe chronic nausea
- multiple sclerosis
- inflammatory bowel disease
- terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year
Each person with a medical card can also be assigned up to three caretakers who can purchase medical marijuana products for them. All medical card holders must be permanent state residents with no current convictions.
To open the dispensaries, Wisconsin policymakers would like to create a new department: the Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation, operated by the state Department of Health Services. This office will keep a registry of patients and regulate pricing. Interestingly enough, they plan to distribute cannabis products at cost without raising prices for profit.
Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card
Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits
- Larger purchase limits
- Peace of mind
- Enhanced legal protection
- Access to higher potency strains
- Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
- Skip the line at the dispensary
The actual growers and distributors of the cannabis products will be private businesses working with the government to sell their stock. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) would work with growers on cultivation, testing, and processing.
Although some people disagree with having the dispensaries be state-run instead of privately operated, this new bill will help many state residents gain access to cannabis. If the measure passes, the government is hoping to have the final details smoothed out by spring.
This proposal would be the most restrictive cannabis bill in the country, but policymakers are open to amending it and making changes once the process is underway. Democratic party members are concerned it is too restrictive and are hoping to work with Republican party members to find a healthier balance for cannabis sales. However, pushing for full medical and recreational cannabis could kill the bill altogether.
Neighboring states with legalized cannabis are currently experiencing tax revenue boons, which some Wisconsin policymakers want for their state. One report estimated that legal cannabis in Wisconsin could generate more than $100 million annually in tax revenue, which could go toward schools, roads, and other improvements for residents.
For now, the bill seems to be a move in the right direction. The medical cannabis proposal will require bipartisan support and compromise to move forward successfully, but it would be in the best interest of Wisconsinites to begin this movement.