Even after Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law late last month that allows for the possession of a medical marijuana extract — called CBD oil — Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, said this is “not enough” for Wisconsinites.
People in the state of Wisconsin who need access to CBD oil would still have to go to great lengths to access it since the bill does not allow for production or delivery of the oil in the state, Bowen said.
“It would make sense to allow that accessibility barrier to be removed so folks who are suffering won’t have to jump through hoops to get access to a natural resource,” Bowen said.
An amendment Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, introduced would allow for people to produce and prepare the oil in Wisconsin for those who need it, but it did not have support from Republicans.
“We agreed parents should be able to use this oil, but how are they going to get it?” Taylor said.
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Bowen said there are a number of ailments which can be treated with CBD oil, especially seizures.
Rep. Scott Krug, R-Nekoosa, said in a statement that CBD oil is a “big step” in providing treatment options for individuals with medical conditions.
“There is no slippery slope, there is no worry of people getting high on CBD oil,” Krug said. “The levels of THC grant relief for many medical conditions, but are limited.”
But CBD oil does not provide the same benefits medical marijuana would, such as pain management, chronic conditions like cancer and making sure patients are able to eat when going through vigorous treatments, Taylor said. Medical marijuana could address a number of serious health issues, she said.
Taylor introduced a bill, known as the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act, that would legalize medical marijuana in the state of Wisconsin earlier this year.
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“We’re way behind in allowing patients to access this medication that they need,” Taylor said. “Policymakers need to listen to their constituents and make sure patients are not being treated as criminals.”
But even with the passage of the CBD oil bill, Bowen said there is still a wide gap in the Legislature when it comes to getting all members on the same page when it comes to the benefits of medical marijuana. But Bowen and Taylor agreed the CBD oil legislation is slightly better for the conversation and gave voice to the issue.
“It’s good for the state of Wisconsin to recognize that a natural substance that can be medically prescribed by a doctor can help individuals,” Bowen said.
For some individuals, using prescription drugs leads to addiction or may lead to heroin abuse, Taylor said. Medical marijuana, however, does not have the addictive properties or side effects of prescription drugs.
When it comes to the next step of medical marijuana in Wisconsin, Bowen and Taylor said they would like to see bills concerning medical marijuana get hearings. Bowen said he would like to hear the public comment on those bills and create an environment for discussion.
“It would allow us and the public to have a real conversation about medical marijuana and the people that can be prescribed it instead of opiates, which we know can be very addictive,” Bowen said.