Wisconsin legislators have introduced Senate Bill 371, allowing for the possession and use of medical marijuana.

The Bill was introduced on Jan. 9, 2012, by Senators Erpenbach and Taylor, cosponsored by Representatives Pocan, Berceau, Bewley, E. Coggs, Danou, Grigsby, Kessler, Pasch, Pope-Roberts, Roys, C. Taylor, Toles and Zepnick.

This bill would establish a Medical Necessity Defense to marijuana, related prosecutions and forfeiture actions.  Persons with debilitating medical conditions, or undergoing treatment that is also deemed by their primary care physician as debilitating, would be able to invoke this Medical Necessity Defense if this Bill were to be passed into law.

The defense provided under the bill, and the prohibition on arrest and prosecution contained in the bill,  would also apply to a primary caregiver, if the primary caregiver acquires, possesses, cultivates, transfers or transports marijuana to facilitate the patients use.

There are no protections for use of marijuana deemed to be recreational.  Certain provisions are laid out in the language of the Bill to prevent the defense from being invoked when people are in a corrections facility, sitting on a park bench, schools, public transportation and in the person’s place of work.  There are also strong prohibitions against the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

This Bill would enable people suffering from HIV, cancer, debilitating nerve disorders and many others to be able to have some relief from their pain and suffering.  While the public perception has been against this in the past; it has steadily been growing in acceptance over the last 10-15 years.

Federal law prohibits possession, cultivation and distribution of marijuana, even for medical purposes, despite the lack of any constitutional authority for the feds to regulate the use of a drug within a state. Marijuana laws rightfully fall under state authority.

Many states have already enacted Medical Marijuana laws, asserting their Tenth Amendment rights over the disapproval of  federal government.

Senate Bill 371 has been Referred to Committee on Health.

Legislatures in Kansas, New Hampshire, Idaho, New Hampshire, Florida and Maryland have also taken up the marijuana issue.

To track state marijuana legislation, click HERE.

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