Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Pharma won’t win

You win some and you lose some. And anyone who thinks we “lost” on medical marijuana in Wisconsin is wrong. Dead wrong.

This legislative session, we made more progress in passing a medical cannabis law than ever before. In December of 2009 we had a fantastic public hearing that showcased this topic. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about. We packed the largest hearing room in the State Capitol – there was a line out the door of people waiting to testify. In the end, 104 people either registered in favor of the bill and only six logged their opposition.
104 vs. 6 -- we win.

The media took notice of the bill as well. Not only did 10 newspapers endorse the bill with none opposing the bill, but we got more press coverage statewide on this issue than ever before.
10 vs. 0 -- we win.

Four organizations registered in favor of the bill with the Wisconsin ethics board and only two registered against. 4 vs. 2 -- we win.

A Facebook page sprung up in favor of the bill and generated more than 10,000 fans in under two months. To this day, there is still no organized grassroots group working to kill this bill. Activism vs. Apathy -- we win.

Today, Senator Jon Erpenbach, the bill’s other co-author, and I sent a letter to supporters of the bill. We pledge to keep fighting. People’s lives are literally at stake. While the bill did not pass this session, that’s not gonna stop us from advocating for compassionate care for seriously ill patients.

Today, we got a glimpse of what motivates the bill’s key opponents. In today’s Badger Herald, a UW campus newspaper, Wisconsin Medical Society’s Mark Grapentine stated:
“We don’t believe anything you can just grow in your backyard … is really the best way to go in terms of advancing the science.”

So there you have it, if Big Pharma isn’t making it, they oppose it. Sadly, this just proves that medicine is a business just like any other. The only difference is, if I ignore one of my prospective clients for my small business, they’ll just go elsewhere. When the State Medical Society turns a blind eye to the will of seriously ill patients, they don’t have easy alternative options.

Apparently, the State Medical Society is completely ignoring the litany of evidence – anecdotal and scientific -- showing that cannabis provides life saving appetite growth to seriously ill patients and alleviates pain with fewer side effects of other pain killers.

Medical cannabis with a doctor’s guidance is less dangerous than a doctor prescribing addicting OxyContin. Just ask Rush Limbaugh. Or Vicodin. Just ask Brett Favre.

I’m no stranger to tackling tough issues in the political arena. And I don’t quit. Together we will win!

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