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Wisconsin Republicans’ Plan to Legalize Medical Marijuana Has Died

The strict proposal would have limited access to five state-run dispensaries.

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A Wisconsin GOP proposal to legalize medical cannabis won’t be moving forward after the plan was met with criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

According to the Associated Press, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the legislative body won’t be voting on the measure before this year’s session ends next week.

“We see that the Senate wants to have a more liberal version than the one that we’re willing to pass,” Vos said.

The proposal, which was introduced in January, placed strict limitations on who can get medical cannabis and where it can be sold. It would have only allowed access to people diagnosed with serious diseases including cancer, HIV or AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, severe muscle spasms, chronic pain or nausea. Patients with terminal illnesses and less than a year to live would also qualify.

Access to medical cannabis would have also been limited to five, state-run dispensaries. Locations have yet to be determined but it’s likely they would be strategically placed throughout the state. The bill also included rules against dispensing “smokable” marijuana.

Despite the restrictions, the proposed bill had the support of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, who seemingly accepted it as a tentative first step toward full legalization. Other lawmakers called it “disappointing.”

“As Wisconsin is increasingly an island of prohibition, putting forward an overly restrictive medical cannabis bill does not move our state in the right direction. I will continue to tirelessly advocate for full legalization that will provide the public safety, freedom, opportunity, and economic benefit that Wisconsinites deserve,” said State Senator Melissa Agard in a statement. “This bill is picking winners and losers, and it doesn’t need to be this way.”

This week’s decision to kill the bill was cheered by some. Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action, a non-profit political organization against cannabis legalization, praised leaders including Wisconsin State Senate President Chris Kapenga for sidelining the legislation.

“Senate President Kapenga and other leaders looked at the data, science, and public response from people across the state, and wisely killed legislation that would have put the state on the path toward full-scale commercialization of marijuana and THC drugs,” said SAM Action President Dr. Kevin Sabet in a statement.

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