Local hemp business owner supports recent bill to legalize medical marijuana

Two GOP lawmakers reintroduce medical marijuana bill on Wednesday
Two GOP lawmakers reintroduce medical marijuana bill on Wednesday(WBAY)
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - Republican lawmakers reintroduce a bill this week to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

It’s the latest attempt to update the state’s marijuana laws to join 36 states already offering the treatment.

States that neighbor Wisconsin, like Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, allow legal access to marijuana either recreationally or medically.

Two GOP lawmakers, state Senator Mary Felzkowski and Representative Patrick Snyder have introduced a bill that would prohibit plants or inhalants, but would allow patients with certain medical conditions to take medical marijuana as a liquid, oil, pill, tincture, or topically with a doctor’s referral. See first report here.

“I think it’s the most open people have been to learning about it in the legislature, than in the last few years,” said Felzkowski, (R- Irma).

Felzkowski, a two-time breast cancer survivor, says the medical marijuana bill she co-authored will not pass but the goal is to get the conversation going.

“Giving people a natural product without the side effects, instead of forcing them to take a product that does have a lot of side effects, I think the state is very ready for it right now. There’s nothing worse than having to take opioids with all the side effects of them. At the time I had asked my oncologist, I said ‘should we have medical marijuana in this state,’ and he said ‘Mary it’s going to help people, it’s not going to help everyone,’ but he said it’s another tool that we can use,” said Felzkowski.

Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are glad to see medical marijuana getting some support in Madison, but argue this bill prioritizes pharmaceutical companies, and does not go far enough.

“It’s great to see my Republican colleagues being willing to come to the table to move something forward, however this specific policy they introduced this week, falls incredibly short from what Wisconsinites have been asking for, and that’s full legalization,” said Representative Kristina Shelton, (D) Green Bay.

Rebecca Bilal, owner of Cumulus Wholesale Smoke Shop in Ashwaubenon, supports the bill and has seen the benefits of medical marijuana firsthand.

“I case managed the state of Florida, and while I was doing that case management, medical marijuana became legal in that state. And so that gave me a really nice experience in talking to patients who had just started to have medical marijuana available to them, and there was so many positive things that people would say,” said Bilal.

Then, when Bilal moved back to Wisconsin, legalized hemp business was taking off, and so was her shop.

“I have a 19-year-old son who’s special needs and he has epilepsy. And so that was kind of what got me starting down that road of even researching that,” Bilal said.

You’ll find many hemp-based products at Cumulus Wholesale, which Bilal says hemp has helped ease her son’s seizure symptoms.

“He went from having about three of those, two to three a day, to having about three a month,” Bilal said.

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