Unlike the State Assembly with 99 seats with all seats up for election every two years, the Wisconsin State Senate has 33 Seats and only half of them are up for election every four years. This election cycle for 2020, the “even” numbered Senate seats (16 of them in total) are up for election, but remember, that leaves 17 seats currently occupied and not up for election, which I addressed those elected officials and their record on marijuana reform in a previous blog. ( spoiler alert = of the remaining 17 Senators (11 Republicans + 6 Democrats) not up for election this cycle means we will almost for certain deal with most of them next session. Of those 11 Republicans, we had one only 1 ‘A’ / passing grade and the remaining 10 Senators receiving ‘F’ Failing grades. It does not sound good saying 10 out of 33 people needed are already a NO to marijuana reform, but that just might be the case……
But, onto the ones that are up for election in 2020:
Democratic State Senate 14 Candidates Total:
Update November 4th, 2020 Election Winners are in!!
Senate District 4 – Incumbent – Unopposed
LaTonya Johnson (D – WI) SD 6 – Incumbent
Ed Vocke (D – WI) SD 12
Joni Anderson (D – WI) SD 14
Melissa Sargent (D – WI) SD 16
Aaron Wojciechowski (D – WI) SD 18
Paul Piotrowski (D – WI) SD 24
SD 26 – Unopposed
Adam Murphy (D – WI) SD 28
Nine (9) out of the fourteen (14) candidates is much like the majority of Democratic State Assembly candidates that support reform. With two (2) unopposed seats and two (2) Incumbents with a showing strong support for regulating and taxing the adult use marijuana market in Wisconsin, I feel confident that the Democrats will present another bill to accomplish those goals in 2021-22. Will the bill attract a Republican co-sponsor in the Senate or Assembly? Let’s take a look a the Republican candidates in the Senate:
Republican State Senate 13 Total Candidates:
Alciro Deacon (R – WI) Senate District 6
Scott Barker (R – WI) Senate District 16
Senate District 30
With only three (3) Republican candidates addressing support for a change in the marijuana laws for adult use, that leaves a great deal of work to be had in the GOP as the other 10 candidates are not so kind to cannabis. The 23% ratio seems high because the of the 3 unopposed seats where the Republicans did not run a candidate and I suspect like the the ratios (approximately 18%) I found in the Republican State Assembly races to be more the indicator of caucus support. The Republican Caucus probably does not have enough support to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin without the help from Dems and a bi-partisan approach to sensible reform. Of course due to gerrymandering it is highly unlikely that all these candidates will take the seat and they admit it in their campaigns, but that did not stop them from running.
No matter the results of the upcoming election, marijuana reform is going to be an ongoing issue in Wisconsin for years to come. To address the comprehensive nature of marijuana laws, we need legislators who sponsored the various bills throughout the 2019-20 session to work together towards sensible cannabis reform. Please sign and share the petition below help accomplish our collective goals. Follow along on the Wisconsin Cannabis Caucus Facebook Page.