Senator to VA: End mindless narcotics prescriptions now

In the days leading to his death, former Marine Cpl. Jason Simcakoski sent a text to his dad from the inpatient psychiatric ward at the Tomah, Wisconsin, Veterans Affairs hospital.

"I slept horrible last night," Simcakoski wrote Aug. 27, 2014. "I tossed and turned sweating … then I just stayed up. I couldn't take it. I'm worse now than before I came in."

Simcakoski had checked himself into the hospital for chronic drug misuse, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. He was taking 14 medications, including antipsychotics, muscle relaxers, antidepressants and tramadol — a powerful opioid painkiller prescribed to him by Tomah doctors.


Remembering when hemp was king in Wisconsin

During the heyday of the industrial hemp industry during World War I and II, Wisconsin was home to over 70 percent of the hemp mills in the U.S.

Quite a feat for an industry that was largely unknown in the Badger State in 1912.

One of the oldest cultivated fiber plants in the world, hemp seed was brought to the U.S. by the pilgrims in 1620. The early settlers used the fiber from the woody stalk to produce twine, thread and rope.

According to state archives, six acres of hemp were grown on the asylum farm at Mendota and three acres as the Wisconsin State Prison farm in 1908, by the Agronomy Department of the Wisconsin Experiment State in cooperation with the Office of Fiber Investigations of the USDA.


Tribes Exploring Marijuana Industry

SENECA, NY -- There's a push to get the medical marijuana industry up and running on Indian territories. Leaders of the National Tribal Cannabis Association expect to see the industry in full swing on some reservations within the next year.

Former president of the Seneca Nation, Robert Porter, helped organize meetings that about 75 tribal leaders from across the country have attended.

Last week Porter met with tribes within the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan region.

Porter say most tribes are showing interest in the medical marijuana industry and regulations are starting to be drafted.

Porter said, "I don't see many leaders talk about adult recreational use at this time."


Medical Marijuana Oil Hits new Roadblocks in WI


A Wisconsin committee is taking up a bill that would allow the legal use of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizure disorders, but it’s hitting new roadblocks.

It’s called CBD oil and right now, it’s legal in Wisconsin, but that doesn’t mean it’s available. The oil is still illegla under federal law unless doctors get an FDA waiver to prescribe it and so far, none in Wisconsin have been willing to get one.

“She was on everything, Depakote, every pharmaceutical you could imagine to treat her seizures,” said Steve Figi of Menasha, “[her seizures] were at a rate of 20-40 grand mal seizures a day, when she was 4-and-a-half-years-old.”


Legalize marijuana extract, legislators urged

MADISON — Lawmakers and parents told a Wisconsin committee on Wednesday that a bill that would allow residents to legally possess a marijuana derivative to treat seizure disorders would help give people relief while a doctor said it could have potential dangerous repercussions.

The Assembly Committee on Children and Families heard testimony on a bill that would allow parents to legally possess cannabidiol oil known by the acronym CBD, which doesn't produce a high in users. Families with the drug wouldn't be able to produce, purchase or transport the drug in Wisconsin and would still be subject to federal law.


Arrest Underscores China’s Role in the Making and Spread of a Lethal Drug

MILWAUKEE — Scores of travelers streamed through Los Angeles International Airport in March, just off a flight from China. But one passenger, a 33-year-old Chinese chemist, never reached baggage claim.

The passenger, Haijun Tian, was arrested at the airport by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, the prize at the end of an elaborate sting operation aimed at stemming the importation and sale of spice, the street name for a family of synthetic drugs that look like marijuana and are sprayed with a dangerous hallucinogenic chemical, then smoked.


Report Explores Marijuana Policy in Milwaukee

Mitch Teich with Public Policy Forum president Rob Henken.

Members of a Milwaukee Common Council committee took up a proposal Thursday that could reduce the penalties for first-time offenses for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Advocates say reforms are needed to address disparities in how marijuana laws are enforced and their impact on offenders.

"When you look at the percentage of the population that is African-American versus the percentage of offenders who are actually being picked up by police in Milwaukee and prosecuted, there is a disparity there," says Public Policy Forum president Rob Henken.


These 7 Children Have Died Waiting for Access to Medical marijuana

Losing a child is the worst nightmare any parent could imagine, a nightmare that is much harder to bear when you know that there may have been something you could have done to prevent such an awful tragedy. As unimaginable as this scenario is for most parents, preventable deaths are happening at an alarming rate as politicians argue about whether or not marijuana is medicine (we did some checking, it is). At this crucial time in history, a moment when the science on medical marijuana has become crystal clear, our government leaders can no longer afford to move slowly on reform measures. The lives of our children depend on this.


Marijuana Legalization Wisconsin 2015: Bill To Make Weed Legal Faces Uphill Battle In ...

Lawmakers in Wisconsin were expected to consider a bill to legalize marijuana this year, however it’ll likely face substantial opposition in the Republican-controlled state Legislature, legal experts have said. Conservative lawmakers rejected a similar bill last legislative session and generally oppose legalization in the state, according to the Badger Herald.


Wisconsin lawmaker seeks to legalize marijuana

A Wisconsin lawmaker says the state should legalize marijuana to reduce crime and improve the state's economy.

Rep. Melissa Sargent, a Madison Democrat, introduced a bill Monday that would legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.

In a news conference Monday Sargent said that legalizing the drug would reduce crime associated with growing and selling cannabis and create jobs.

But the bill will likely go up in smoke. Republicans control both chambers and don't seem eager to support the measure.

Gov. Scott Walker last spring signed into law a measure that permits the use of marijuana derivatives to treat certain medical disorders. His spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, said Walker opposes legalization and sees marijuana as a gateway drug.


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