MADISON, Wis. — Attorney General Brad Schimel is threatening Wisconsin farmers, retailers and therapeutic users of cannabidiol (CBD) oil with criminal penalties, while sitting on his hands in holding manufacturers behind the opioid addiction crisis accountable. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted Schimel for issuing a menacing “guidance” memo, suggesting those producing the non-psychoactive substance in the state or those possessing it without a prescription could be subject to sanction including fines and jail time.
“Brad Schimel is threatening criminal sanctions for a Wisconsin farmer for manufacturing CBD oil or a parent using it to help treat a child’s seizures,” said Ross. “Yet to this day he refuses to go to court to hold accountable the manufacturers behind the opioid crisis, as have Attorneys General across the country and a majority of Wisconsin counties.”
According to reports, Schimel, “ … is advising law enforcement agencies and the public that a medicinal oil derived from marijuana and hemp is still illegal, despite laws passed in recent years legalizing its use in limited circumstances.”
Schimel, who has received campaign funds from opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma, has refused to join in action by 17 other state Attorneys General and sue Purdue and other opioid manufacturers in court. Purdue also contributed nearly $300,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in 2016, the last year for which records are available. RAGA has already run ads attacking Schimel’s 2018 election opponent.
Other states bringing suit to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their role in the addiction crisis cite how their promotion of the drugs minimized risks and encouraged over prescribing. But Schimel in refusing to act claims pharmaceutical manufacturers’ unsavory practices are too far in the past.
A recently released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals Wisconsin is among the the worst states in the nation for increases in deaths attributable to opioids. Over two-thirds of the state’s 72 counties have also joined a lawsuit seeking compensation from drug makers for the mounting costs associated with the opioid addiction crisis.
Ross concluded, “The big drug companies behind the opioid crisis get a pass while the Attorney General bullies Wisconsin farmers and therapeutic users of harmless CBD oil. Brad Schimel is protecting the wrong people, and it sure looks like campaign cash is the reason.”