Competing medical marijuana bills are in session again for the close of the 2022 legislation cycle. The big question on our minds is, to which committee will Republicans send medical cannabis bills to die?
The first Republican decriminalization bill quickly disappeared from news after Governor Evers included taxation of adult use marijuana in his second budget. It was a shame because decriminalization was in Gov. Evers first budget. The municipality comply feature should not have caused the controversy it did, and that bill could have passed. We all must remember that the district attorney has the power to not charge, charge at local ordinance level, OR charge at the state level!
Decriminalization. Fines not crimes!
Republicans went back to the drawing board and came up with additional language and provisions for their decriminalization bill and re-circulated it. Republican leadership sent this newest bill to a different committee than the first version. Seems odd to me that they would have two decriminalization bills in two different committees, but it’s pretty evident that Republicans do not want to move on the marijuana issue. Republicans have made it their pledge to put the least amount of legislation on the desk of Governor Evers to sign so they can call him a “do nothing Governor” come 2022 campaign season. They are not even trying to hide that fact……
The decriminalization bill (Senate Bill 790 / Assembly Bill 812) is stuck in the Senate Committee of Judiciary and Public Safety – chaired by Senator Wanggaard – and also, in the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety – chaired by Rep. Spiros.
Decriminalization makes sense, but legalization makes cents and scents!
Back to pot though. Democrats circulated a bill for total legalization and a majority of the Democrats co-sponsored it. That was huge! The first time in history the Democrats are in favor of legalization! (I know, we are so far behind). None of the Republicans touched the adult use bill as a co-sponsor, and none have said they would vote yes to it if by some miracle it hit their desk.
The legalization bill (Senate Bill 545 / Assembly Bill 846) is stuck with Wanggaard again as they (Republicans) sent the legalization bill to the former cop and same Senate Committee as the decriminalization bill (Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety), but landed in the Assembly Committee on State Affairs chaired by Rep. Swearingen.
Medical marijuana could be the compromise, but……
Republicans regurgitated their big pharma, no smoking, no home grows “medical marijuana bill” from last session. My gripe would be that if you did not significantly change the language from last session, why are you waiting until the session is almost over before submitting this bill? It should have been submitted like the first decriminalization bill, it should have been put out before the budget!
Democrat Sponsored bill is better for Wisconsin patients!
The Democrats counter with their version of a medical marijuana program that is a little more patient focused, allows smoking products, and will allow for patient/caregiver home grows. The Democrat bill attracted Republicans in past sessions, so there is a record of some Republicans who support smoking medical marijuana, and are okay with allowing patients to grow their own. The question is, will they re-emerge as co-sponsors to this initiative again this session?
The other question is: Where will Republican Leadership send these competing medical marijuana bills to die? Meaning, which committee will receive them? Neither bill has been assigned a bill number or committee assignment, yet. Will we be dealing with Senator Wanggaard, Rep. Spiros, and Rep. Swearingen again on these bills also?
We will be back to report on where this all leads to. In the meantime, make a phone call or two! Begin a cannabis conversation with your elected officials!
Update on medical marijuana bills:
Robin “Boss” Vos and his chronic chronies could to not manage to find it in their hearts to send a medical marijuana bill to a friendly committee chair. The Assembly Leaders sent both versions of the medical cannabis legislation to prohibitionist Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, who is now the target of a phone blitz, again…….
As the chair on the Assembly Committee on Health, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo issued this statement in February 2019 regarding Tony Evers’ decriminalization plan: “Governor Evers’s plan for decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana is both irresponsible and uninformed. This is a case of the Governor advancing his own agenda despite a large body of scientific research demonstrating real dangers associated with marijuana use. Contrary to the growing narrative that marijuana is harmless, the scientific and medical communities have raised genuine concerns about the risks that marijuana consumption poses to health and public safety.”
Rep. Sanfelippo does not believe there are benefits of medical marijuana. He was quoted in February 2019 saying, “There is no quantitative, definitive science and research that can prove the efficacy of marijuana for medical purposes.”
Contact Joe Sanfelippo Email: Joshua.Hoisington@legis.wisconsin.gov
Web: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/15/sanfelippo Phone: 608-266-0620
Address: State Capitol, Room 314 North Post Office Box 8953 Madison, WI 53708
OH WAIT…. WHAT?
One the other hand, the Republican Senate leadership sent their partisan Republican bill directly to the bill authors committee in which she is the committee chair (Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry).
In many news statements, Felzkowki said her goal was to get a public hearing on this bill. Well, the ball is in her court, behind by 2 points with only seconds to go on the shot clock….. will she take it?
In previous sessions, under different leadership, the tone was dramatically different. When Republican Senator Testin co-sponsored a medical marijuana bill, his Health Committee should have received the bill. Instead, leadership sent it to millionaire prohibitionist Senator Duey “CBD is snake oil” Stroebel to die a painful death.
The bill authored by Senator Mary Felzkowski was introduced so late in session it is hard to say if the friendly assignment of her bill to her committee is a green light to go ahead yet with a public hearing, or a slap in the face to the Senator herself. Will Senator Felzkowski slap back and hold a public hearing even though session has ended?
Madison Office: Room 415 South State Capitol PO Box 7882 Madison WI 53708
Telephone: (608) 266-2509 Email: Sen.Felzkowski@legis.wisconsin.gov