Eau Claire (WQOW) - The effort to legalize medicinal marijuana took center stage in Madison on Tuesday. Lawmakers heard from both sides in a 2.5 hour public hearing.
Those who support medical marijuana say it helps relieve pain. Most of the people attending Tuesday's hearing were in support the bill. The legislation was introduced in the Senate in October.
Under the bill, doctors would be allowed to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from cancer or other types of debilitating illnesses. If it's approved, patients would be allowed to grow a limited amount.
"I'm a living medical miracle; why should I be a criminal," says Gary Storck, who suffers from glaucoma. "I haven't been able to live a normal life because of illness. Now, because my medicine is illegal, I haven't been able to live a normal life. I've been shamed and put down and forced to go out on the streets. It's time for it to end."
Rep. Leah Vukmir said, "Using people who are dying of cancer as a shield, I think it's nothing more than a ruse for you to move toward full legalization of marijuana."
Lawmakers did a fiscal review of the bill in November. The study determined it's too hard to say what kind of effect this bill would have on law enforcement.
Currently, there are 13 states, including Michigan, with some type of medical marijuana law. Besides Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois are also discussing legislation.
The assembly public health committee hopes to vote on the measure by the end of the year. Governor Doyle says he would support the bill.