Dec. 15, 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the Dec. 15, 2009 combined health committee hearing on the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA).
In Nov. 2008, Democrats swept into power in Wisconsin, gaining control of both houses of the state legislature with incumbent Gov. Jim Doyle already holding down the executive branch since 2003.
Then-Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Waunakee) were the sponsors of Assembly Bill 554/Senate Bill 368, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act (JRMMA). With Democrats chairing both health committees, after years of advocates working on laying the foundation for passage of medical cannabis legislation in Wisconsin, the stage was set for a combined public hearing of the Assembly and Senate health committees. The Assembly Committee on Public Health was chaired by retired neurologist Rep. Chuck Benedict (D-Beloit) and the Senate Committee on Health, Health Insurance, Privacy, Property Tax Relief, and Revenue, chaired by Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), senate sponsor of the JRMMA.
The 8-hour standing room only hearing in the Capitol's largest hearing room on a bitterly cold winter day demonstrated the depth of support among Wisconsinites for legalizing medical cannabis. 57 people registered in support, with only one registered against. 48 people testified in support, with only five against, making the final score was 105 to 6. Many supporters waiting to testify had to leave before their names were called. The five testifying against were Dr. Michael Miller, State Medical Society, Kevin St. John, Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of then-Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Charles Wood, Wisconsin Narcotics Officer Association, Robert Block, State of Wisconsin Controlled Substances Board and the fifth a private citizen from Madison, Tom Meyer.
I wrote a longer post about this last year as the ninth anniversary approached. Here's a link to that.
Below are clips of the testimony of Jacki Rickert and myself, who were the first patients to testify that day...