Loophole in Wisconsin Medical Marijuana Ban

December 16, 2004

, WKOW-TV _ Madison, WI

Medical marijuana is illegal in Wisconsin, but a woman from Sun Prairie has found a loophole. The woman was arrested for possession of the drug, but a judge let her go.

The verdict even surprised the woman's Defense Attorney.

It all boils down to a state law that says you can possess a controlled substance as long as you have a valid prescription.

'I got bit by the deadliest spider in America. It bit me several times. I've never even heard of this spider. It has nine flesh-digestive enzymes that have been identified.

There's no cure, there's no anti-venom,' says Cheryl Lam, the defendant.

Lam has been paralyzed, has dropped down to 90 pounds, and suffers chronic pain. For her, medical marijuana helps her lead a normal life.

'It just allows me to kind of put the pain, it deadens it so i can do the dishes, and do these things with my kids that i like to do,' says Lam.

Lam got a prescription card while living in California, one of eleven states that have legalized medical marijuana. When she moved back to Wisconsin, Lam was arrested for possession of the drug.

Just a few days ago, a judge dropped the charges.

'Because it has been clearly decided by a judge in Wisconsin that if you have a valid prescription that you are entitled to have your medical marijuana,' says Lam's Defense Attorney, Charity Reynolds.

Reynolds says the case could set the precedent for medical marijuana use in Wisconsin, and revitalize the campaign for those who are against the ban.

'Since there is no legal source to get medicinal marijuana in Wisconsin, Cheryl and other people like her are forced to buy marijuana from street pushers,' she says.

Reynolds says this case may possibly be the first case to test Wisconsin's statute on medical marijuana. Reynolds says she couldn't find a similar case, and neither could the District Attorney.

The case was dismissed on Monday in Baraboo. That's where Lam was arrested for possession of the drug.

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