Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, sees no problem in using veterans and active duty military as props in the Capitol holiday tree lighting ceremony, but when it comes to helping them deal with service-related disabilities, he apparently couldn’t care less.
Fitzgerald’s true concern for veterans became evident in comments from his spokesperson Andrew Welhouse opposing the new medical cannabis bill, the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. The JRMMA was introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, and includes post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition.
Fitzgerald should find the courage to explain his position to Erin Silbaugh, a 28-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war. The former Marine sergeant from Lodi attended the bill’s press conference recently at the Capitol.
Silbaugh returned from Iraq with PTSD, and soon found that cannabis helped treat his symptoms much better than the numerous drugs prescribed by the VA, each with its own laundry list of side effects.
I’m forced to hide within my own country to be able to use medicine that helps me,” Silbaugh said at the news conference.
I guess Fitzgerald is just taking a cue from his Assembly colleague Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi. Last session when Silbaugh asked Ripp if it was fair that he should face arrest and jail for using his medicine to treat his service-related disability, Ripp simply shrugged his shoulders.