Cancer Policy News from the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative | March 2020
New issue brief explores medical marijuana in Wisconsin
How would legal access to medical marijuana affect cancer patients and public health in Wisconsin? A new issue brief from the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative, Medical Marijuana in Wisconsin: A Cancer Perspective, explores this and other questions.

Thirty-three states offer legal access to marijuana for certain qualifying medical conditions, such as cancer. However, because federal restrictions currently limit marijuana research, policy makers and health care providers have limited data regarding the drug’s potential harmful or helpful effects on patients. 

As Wisconsin considers whether to legalize the medical use of marijuana, the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative recommends that health care leaders and policy makers examine the public health and safety impacts of such a law, to avoid unintended consequences for cancer patients and the public. 

Tobacco 21 legislation moves to state Senate
Last December, the federal government passed a law banning the sale of tobacco and vapor products to people under age 21. However, the new law does not give Wisconsin the power to enforce the federal age restriction. As a result, state officials cannot perform compliance checks on tobacco or vapor retailers to ensure they are following the law.

This discrepancy prompted the Wisconsin Assembly in February to pass an amended version of Assembly Bill 422 , which prohibits the sale of tobacco and vapor products regardless of nicotine content to people under age 21, and allows law enforcement to perform compliance checks on tobacco and vapor retailers. 

However, the Assembly bill does not require that vapor retailers be licensed in Wisconsin. The lack of licensing can hinder compliance efforts and leaves the state unable to enforce tax on vaping fluids.   

This issue now moves to the Wisconsin Senate, where the Committee on Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 364 at 10 am tomorrow, March 1.

Gov. Evers signs cancer clinical trial bill
Gov. Tony Evers recently signed into law a cancer clinical trials bill designed to reduce costs and increase access for patients.

Cancer clinical trials are critically important in the treatment of current and future cancers. However, participants often incur expenses, such as lodging and gasoline, which can create financial barriers for some patients. Research shows that patients with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 are 32 percent less likely to participate in clinical trials. 

The new law, 2019 Wisconsin Act 150 , clarifies that organizations sponsoring clinical trials can reimburse patients for related expenses. The legislation received support from UW Carbone Cancer Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic, and the American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network.

Other Highlights
Pressure to act on youth vaping
Gov. Tony Evers is calling on state lawmakers to take action on youth vaping by moving forward on four legislative proposals:
  • SB757 / AB 889 would require electronic smoking device retailers to obtain the same retail licenses that tobacco product retailers must have. Learn more 
  • SB 790 / AB 868 would ban electronic smoking devices on all public and private K-12 school property. Learn more
  • SB 750 / AB 888 would provide additional state funding to the Tobacco is Changing campaign, and grant funding to organizations providing cessation and prevention services. Learn more
  • SB 751 / AB 892 would broaden the authority of the Department of Health Services to respond to public health emergencies. Learn more
Alcohol sales at the Democratic convention
The Wisconsin State Assembly recently passed legislation that allows local governments to permit businesses with certain alcohol licenses to stay open until 4 am during the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this July. Learn more
Formerly known as the Wisconsin Cancer Council.  Here’s why we changed our name .