FILE - Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 

There is Republican support for the latest medical marijuana plan in Wisconsin. However, there remains one significant GOP holdout. 

A handful of lawmakers on Friday introduced a plan to allow some people to use marijuana in the state.

"For cancer patients, glaucoma sufferers and other ailing citizens, medical cannabis is one potential tool health professionals can use to treat serious medical conditions and ease their suffering. I think it’s time to look at our laws and join the majority of states that have already legalized medical cannabis to help treat patients with unbearable and debilitating pain," Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said. 

This proposal would allow people suffering from cancer, HIV and AIDS, PTSD, seizures, and a number of other conditions to use marijuana as medicine. 

This is not the first time that Democratic lawmakers in Madison have suggested creating a medical marijuana program. They have tried for at least the past eight years. 

But this time, there is some Republican support. 

State Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, signed on as a co-sponsor of the plan. 

“Growing up, my grandfather was one of my heroes. I watched as cancer robbed him of his strength and vitality,” Testin said. “I saw him make the decision to go outside the law to seek treatment with medical marijuana. It restored his appetite, and I believe it added months to his life. Doctors and patients, not government, should decide if cannabis is the right treatment.”

Democrats say Wisconsin is trending toward a medical marijuana program. State Sen. John Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said the 2018 election showed that. 

“Each time we introduce this bill, more and more people around Wisconsin find that someone they know has turned to cannabis as a life-altering medical treatment,” Erpenbach said. “The public support is there, we have a governor who supports it, the time for medical cannabis is now.”

Erpenbach added that nearly a million Wisconsin voters in 16 different counties and two cities voted in favor of non-binding medical marijuana referendum questions last fall. 

But despite the growing public and Republican support, the chances the plan becomes law are close to zero. 

The top Republican in the Wisconsin Senate, Scott Fitzgerald, is still opposed to changing the laws on marijuana.

“Everyone knows that medical marijuana leads to legalized marijuana,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Fitzgerald said he thinks a lot of other Republicans in the state Senate agree with him. 

Staff Reporter

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.