Wisconsin's first pro-cannabis billboard

September 30, 2014 | Bunny Balk

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The League of Marijuana Voters launched a billboard Monday that highlights two Wisconsin state senators' obstruction of medical marijuana legalization. The first ever billboard advocating for medical marijuana legislation in Wisconsin is part of a new campaign targeting Senators Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) for preventing passage of a bill that would allow people suffering from debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The group is coordinating with the local Southeastern Wisconsin NORML chapter to raise awareness in the Senators' districts.

The billboard, which faces eastbound traffic on I-94 by 121st St. in West Allis, features silhouettes of the two legislators, their names, and their phone numbers. It reads, "WI patients have NO access to medical marijuana," and encourages voters to, "Ask [them] why!" The ad will run from September 29 through November 9. The billboard was designed by a volunteer and paid for by more than 100 individual donors. Planning and fundraising for more billboards around the state are currently underway.

Sen. Vukmir, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, refused to allow a committee vote on the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act (JRMCA). Sen. Lazich (R-New Berlin), who serves on the committee, was also vocal in her opposition to the bill.

"Studies have repeatedly shown that marijuana has significant medical benefits," said League of Marijuana Voters co-founder Eric Marsch. "It can inhibit epileptic seizures, reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy, and relieve the pain associated with multiple sclerosis, among other things. People suffering from serious illnesses should not be punished for using medical marijuana if it can relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life."

In April, the legislature passed a bill ostensibly allowing people suffering from seizures to use CBD oil, a marijuana extract. Unfortunately the bill requires the federal FDA approve an investigational drug permit for CBD oil before anyone in Wisconsin can access it, something unlikely to happen anytime soon, and it doesn't cover the vast majority of illnesses that medical marijuana treats. By contrast, the JRMCA would immediately allow patients suffering from a wide variety of debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana.

"We want to make medical marijuana a major issue in these last few weeks before the election," Marsch said. "Most Wisconsin voters support access to medical marijuana, and the legislature cannot keep sweeping this issue under the rug."

A 2010 Dane County Advisory Referendum showed 75.49% of voters in support of medical marijuana. In February 2013, a Fox News poll showed 85% of American voters in favor. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow seriously ill people access to medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The League of Marijuana Voters is a new group of volunteer activists from pro-marijuana-reform organizations across Wisconsin including Wisconsin NORML, IMMLY, Wisconsin ASA, and The Ben Masel Project. Its function is to organize and sponsor large-scale, high-visibility demonstrations of public support for marijuana law reforms.

See the billboard at  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140929/148944



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