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Wisconsin Legalizes CBD Extract

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Wisconsin became the latest state to pass a strictly limited semblance of a medical marijuana law on April 18 as the arch-conservative Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 10, allowing patients to receive cannabidiol (CBD) extract from a physician or pharmacy with a prescription.

The law, already passed by both houses of the legislature, takes effect immediately. It passed the Senate with only one dissenting vote, pointing to widespread support for the measure in the Badger State.

The measure builds on the 2014 “Lydia’s Law,” named for Lydia Schaeffer, a child epilepsy sufferer. But the even more harshly restrictive 2014 law only allowed hospitals with an expensive FDA investigational license to access CBD oil. Tragically, Lydia died of a seizure later the same year—while waiting for any facility in the state to be cleared to provide CBD.

Despite this outrage, a critical bloc of lawmakers remained intransigent on expanding the law, on the dubious grounds that the extract could contain trace amounts of THC (certainly not enough to have any psychoactive effect). But after a reform was defeated in the Senate last year, a public groundswell demanded change.

“I think what happened is, after [last year’s] vote, it really disappointed a lot of people,” Sen. Van Wanggaard, the bill’s lead sponsor, told Milwaukee’s Fox News 6. “I believe that the senators got phone calls and written communications and realized how important this was.”

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