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Wisconsin’s Restrictive Medical Cannabis Plans Could ‘Limit Patient Access’

More details regarding Wisconsin’s highly restrictive plans to legalise medical cannabis have emerged, seeing some experts raise ‘significant concerns’.

As Business of Cannabis reported earlier this week, Wisconsin’s Assembly Republicans have announced plans to put forward a medical cannabis legalisation bill in this legislative period, but stipulate that it will be one of the ‘most restrictive’ in the US.

After the state’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers suggested last week that he would support such a bill, Republican lawmakers revealed more details of their plans on Monday.

It was confirmed that no smokeable forms of cannabis will be allowed, meaning only oils, tinctures, pills, gels, patches and formulations delivered via a nebulizer would be made available for patients.

Furthermore, medical cannabis sales will only be permitted at five state-run dispensaries, which will be determined by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and located across five distinct regions of the state.

Availability would also be limited to those diagnosed with cancer, HIV or AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, severe muscle spasms, chronic pain or nausea, alongside those with terminal illnesses with less than a year to live.

Patients would also have to have a doctor’s diagnosis to obtain their prescription at Wisconsin’s limited dispensaries, and only the patient and up to three caregivers can collect.

Minneapolis cannabis policy expert Leili Fatehi of Blunt Strategies, who helped legalise adult-use cannabis in Minnesota, told Business of Cannabis: “This recent development signals a positive shift in recognizing the medicinal value of cannabis. However, the restrictiveness of this proposed policy raises significant concerns.

“Learning from Minnesota’s experience with medical marijuana, we’ve seen firsthand how overly stringent regulations can limit patient access and hinder the full potential of medical cannabis programs.

“Patients often struggle with narrow qualifying conditions, high costs, and limited product availability. Wisconsin has an opportunity to observe these challenges and implement a more inclusive, patient-focused approach.

“By expanding qualifying conditions, ensuring affordability, and diversifying product options, Wisconsin can avoid these pitfalls and create a medical marijuana program that truly serves the needs of its patients, setting a standard for compassionate and effective healthcare.”

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