Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced four pieces of legislation this session aimed at expanding access to treatment for people with serious medical conditions. Two of those bills are moving quickly toward passage, with votes scheduled in the Assembly on Tuesday.
While the so-called “right to try” bill and the CBD legislation appear on track to be signed into law with bipartisan support, a pair of bills aimed at legalizing medical marijuana have only attracted cosponsors from the Democratic minority.
And although lawmakers are working across the aisle on the right-to-try and CBD bills, responses from the medical and law enforcement communities are mixed.
“The best health care public policy that helps the most people does not spring from an emotional anecdote — it comes from deliberate, level-headed science,” said Mark Grapentine, lobbyist for the Wisconsin Medical Society, which represents physicians throughout the state. “Objectivity isn’t sexy — but it’s sure necessary.”
For the families who support these bills, it’s often a matter of hope. There are no guarantees, but when it feels like there are no other options, experimental therapies can provide hope where little exists.
Thirteen-year-old Tealyn Wendler, of Pewaukee, sat next to her father, Tim, as she made a plea to lawmakers on the Assembly Health Committee late last month to pass a “right-to-try” bill introduced by Rep. Pat Snyder, R-Schofield.
“To this day, we all wait for someone to do something, but not anymore,” Tealyn said of families whose loved ones have diseases like ALS, like her mother, Trickett. “These families are done waiting for their loved ones to fight for their last breath. It’s time for a movement, a change and a cure, and that all begins with the right to try.”