US WI: OPED: Lawmakers to Sick People: We Don’t Care

Newshawk: Is My Medicine Legal YET?
Pubdate: Thu, 24 Jun 2010
Source: Isthmus (WI)
Copyright: 2010 Isthmus
Author: Gary Storck
Video: TV commercial


Rejection of Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Bill Was a Profile in Cowardice

Jason Glaspie did everything he could. The former Marine, a veteran
of the first Iraq war, has endured numerous treatments for brain and
spinal cancer that left him disabled and often in terrible pain. One
thing that alleviates his suffering is smoking marijuana.

And so when it looked as though Wisconsin might join the 14 other
states (and the District of Columbia) that allow the medicinal use of
cannabis, Glaspie became an activist for the cause.

The Fitchburg resident attended hearings and events held in support
of the proposed bill. He starred in a TV commercial on the issue and
let his story be told in the press. And, in the end, like hundreds of
other people in Wisconsin, he was bitterly disappointed. The bill
died in the just-ended legislative session after state lawmakers
failed to bring it forward for a vote.

“The bill’s failure to pass forces patients to make the horrible
choice between [enduring pain] and being a criminal,” says Glaspie.
“I should not have to fear prosecution just because I want to move
around without my cane. People with chronic health issues have enough
on their plates without adding more fear.”

But fear is what they are left with. The political structure of the
state of Wisconsin has given them the back of their hand. Again.

Just ask former Marine Sgt. Erin Silbaugh (videos here and here ), who served three tours
in the current Iraq war, returning with severe post-traumatic stress
disorder. The Lodi resident recalls a conversation with his
Assemblyman, Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi). He asked if Ripp cared that
Silbaugh had to risk arrest and jail to treat his service-related
disability. Ripp, he says, responded by shrugging his shoulders.

“I’ve been on over 10 different prescriptions provided by the VA to
control my PTSD since returning from Iraq, each with its own list of
side effects,” says Silbaugh. “Why won’t the Legislature allow me to
use something less harmful and more helpful?”

Why indeed?