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Republican Assembly Rep Jesse James co-sponsors medical marijuana bill

I have been paying attention to Assembly District 68 ever since Jesse James gave his first campaign hint of supporting marijuana reform. Having former law enforcement on your side cannot hurt the case for medical marijuana in Wisconsin, especially if he is a Republican. A Field Activist with the chapter reported in February he hinted again at support for medical and although I have not received the results, I suspect that his district had high support for medical marijuana on the GOP Spring Survey.

Although we all would like to see marijuana legal for everyone, Wisconsin has to start somewhere and it is not likely to start with full legalization. The creation of a medical marijuana program is the Republican attempt to do just that, get started. A recent news article announcing he is co-sponsoring this effort is great news for the medical marijuana movement.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — On New Year’s Day, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

In 2018, another neighboring state, Michigan, legalized the drug for both medical and recreational use.

However, local legislators say marijuana legalization in Wisconsin, especially for recreational use is a long way out.

Representative Jesse L. James Assembly District 68 (R - Altoona)
Representative Jesse L. James Assembly District 68 (R – Altoona)

State Representative Jesse James (R) Altoona and former Altoona Police Chief says he is against the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

“We need to take into consideration the states that have already legalized marijuana and look at the impact it has had,” James says. “This is a very complicated issue.”

However James does support medical marijuana. He says the senate will not look at it this session but it is something that could be considered by the assembly in the near future and possibly next session.

“It is something we should be able to support because it will help so many people with medical conditions,” James says.

Senator Kathy Bernier (R) Chippewa Falls has introduced a bill supporting medical marijuana but says she too doesn’t expect to see legalization in Wisconsin any time soon.

James has signed Bernier’s bill supporting medical marijuana. He says there is a big focus on marijuana legislation, especially now that it has been legalized in two neighboring states.

“There are emails that come daily regarding the legalization of marijuana,” James says. “I also want to be the spokesperson that educates people to at least take a moment and try to understand the impact but let’s look at the future and the devastation that is going to come because it will.”

People from Wisconsin can legally purchase marijuana in Illinois but bringing it back into the state is still illegal. James worries it will cause more issues for law enforcement, especially if it is legalized in Wisconsin.

Law enforcement officers in the Chippewa Valley did not express concern for an increase in marijuana related incidents but Wisconsin State Patrol troopers are keeping an eye out for impaired drivers and people in possession of the drug.

“People from out of state need to realize that other states may not have the law that makes it legal for recreational use and they are subject to the penalties,” says Lieutenant Les Mlsna. “We have laws in the books that make it illegal so we take action based on that.”


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