Senator Lassa and Waushara County Sheriff Dave Peterson team up to stop marijuana reform reports The Badger Herald

It is not been reported by sources, including The Badger Herald, that a review of open records for the Senate Bill 368 / Assembly Bill 554 concerning medical marijuana for the 2009-2010 legislative has turned up information important for voters to know.

Here is a copy of the article that indicates Senator Julie Lassa listened to Waushara County Sheriff David Peterson and members of Marshfield Clinic, rather than the district she represented.

Protestors scold Lassa for last year’s medical marijuana vote

Twenty supporters of drug say state senator ignored constituents’ views when voting against bill

By Andrew Averill
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Twenty supporters of medical marijuana picketed outside the Madison Club Tuesday night to protest a fundraiser for a state senator who voted against a bill to legalize the practice.

Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Milladore, voted against the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act after hearing testimony from over 100 patients and medical organizations in 2009.

The bill would have exempted Wisconsin citizens dependent on marijuana as a medicine from federal and state laws regarding marijuana possession, said Gary Storck, spokesperson for the Madison division of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“She had a huge opportunity to expand Wisconsin health care for virtually nothing,” Storck said. “I don’t know if it was cowardice or fear or what.”

Lassa and other legislators voted against the bill after expert and patient testimony in multiple committee hearings and floor discussions.

Several medical associations lobbied against the bill, including members of the Wisconsin Medical Society who testified before the Legislature that marijuana is not medicinal.

“The WMS does not support smoking as a delivery device for THC, other cannabinoids or any compound to be ‘therapeutic,’” said Dr. Michael Miller in a statement to a Senate health committee.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and a voter referendum in California this November would legalize the sale of the drug for recreational use.

Although Storck said the showing at the protest was positive, the issue of medical marijuana may not be an influential issue in the upcoming elections.

Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said medicinal marijuana is not a big issue in the November elections.

Lassa is running against Republican candidate Sean Duffy to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., in November.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue unless the candidates are smoking it,”  McCabe said. “The economy and jobs are the dominant issues.”

NORML claims Lassa’s vote was in direct opposition to the feelings of her constituents, a point they wish to make known before voters hit the polls in November.

Following an open records review, Storck said of 293 pages of documents, the only constituent opposition to the medical marijuana bill was from the Marshfield Clinic and Waushara County Sheriff David Peterson.

Some protesters, such as Jordan Cotter, blame the bill’s failure solely on Lassa.

“This is where Julie Lassa is, and she is the reason the marijuana bill didn’t get passed last year,” said Cotter.

Cotter, like many of the protesters, have a personal connection to the issue of medical marijuana.

Cotter said he began taking medicinal marijuana after a car accident that ejected him out of the vehicle and broke his neck, leaving him in extreme pain. Doctors at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee said he would never walk again, Cotter said.

“They prescribed me pain killers, but I don’t like the effects of those and I’d rather smoke some weed,” Cotter said. “It’s better for the body and the soul.”

Lassa could not be reached for comment.

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