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Democrat lawmakers again pushing medical marijuana bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Two Wisconsin Democrats are trying again to approve the use of marijuana to treat those with chronic pain. 

At a news conference Thursday, Madison Representative Chris Taylor said pain sufferers who turn to marijuana should be treated with compassion instead of as criminals. 

Middleton Senator Jon Erpenbach doesn't buy the so-called "slippery slope" argument which says the measure would open the door to letting those who have colds smoke pot. Erpenbach calls that disrespectful to those with cancer, glaucoma, and debilitating pain. 

The new bill is named for Jacki Rickert, who once rode a wheelchair from Mondovi to Madison to push for medical marijuana. That was 16 years ago. 

Since then, several efforts have been made for the narrow legalization -- and they've all failed under the leadership of both parties, in spite of polls showing public support. Rickert was there the whole time, and was at Thursday's news conference. 

Erpenbach says level heads will eventually prevail -- and if it doesn't happen this session, he'll be back next time. 

The State Medical Society has previously argued against the bill, saying there's not enough evidence that pot is really medicine -- and a synthetic form of the drug has long been available in nasal sprays and pills.