Wisconsin Governor Race – Republican Primary August 9th, 2022
Rebecca Kleefisch, Timothy Ramthun and Tim Michels are not supporting reforming cannabis laws. Neither was Kevin Nicholson who dropped out of the race in July 2022.
Michels, Kleefisch, Nicholson and Ramthun said they would not even sign a medical marijuana bill into law if they are elected. NOTE: Republicans have authored and held a hearing on their version of medical marijuana in 2022.
Recently added news says the candidates now also oppose adult use legalization (recreational) also.
Is this a dramatic change for Kleefisch? Was Lt Governor for Scott Walker she did nothing to reform marijuana laws. In February 2021, Rebecca Kleefisch conducted an interview and we covered and archived that with additional information about her and her spouse, former assembly rep Joel Kleefisch in a in depth blog article. A current Republican Assembly Representative had pitched Kleefisch to us as “sympathetic to the medical cannabis issue” and felt she would sign a medical marijuana bill if elected. Obviously that is not true or Becky is flip flopping so much that she does not know what she is telling who….. at this point we have to label Rebecca Kleefisch as a prohibitionist ready to tow the company line of incarceration instead of compassion.
Kleefisch recently stressed her position was informed by her relationship with law enforcement officers who she said informed her marijuana use creates a pathway to more potent drug consumption and gives way to narcotics trafficking.
“I listen to cops,” Kleefisch said “We know that marijuana is a gateway drug because this is what law enforcement says. We need to stop it where it starts.”
And it figures, the one not even polling in the race says he supports medical marijuana. Adam Fischer, who is he? I found an Adam Fischer that opposed a 2019 county advisory referendum as a Wood County Board Member.
Wisconsin Lt. Governor Race
Republican Jonathan Wichmann has been the most vocal advocate in the Republican party supporting this important issue.
Notable is also Senator Patrick Testin who is running also and not up for re-election in his Senate seat. He at least co-sponsored a grow your own medical marijuana bill a session or two back, but he has really be missing in action on the issue, especially for veterans.
Senator Roger Roth gave up his Senate seat to run for Lt. Governor. He must know something or is done with politics for awhile after this. He really has not done much to support cannabis reform in his career as a politician. He maybe letting up a little because of veterans use data and our lobbying efforts, but we still do not consider him friendly.
The rest of the GOP candidates are Will Martin from Racine, Kyle Yudes from Eau Claire, David C. Varnam from Lancaster, Cindy Werner from Milwaukee, David D. King from Milwaukee.
Recent forum and news report says this:
Of the eight Republican contenders running for lieutenant governor, five said they would back creating a pathway to legalize cannabis for healing purposes.
State Sens. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, and Roger Roth, R-Appleton, business owners Jonathan Wichmann and Kyle Yudes, and Godsquad founder David King said in a recent debate they are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Lancaster Mayor David Varnam, government agency consultant Will Martin and Fredrick Douglass Foundation ambassador Cindy Werner opposed legalizing medicinal cannabis.
Wisconsin Attorney General Race
Wisconsin Attorney General Candidates’ Forum conducted on June 8, 2022.
Adam Jarchow was one of the first Republicans to be vocal about the change needed in the cannabis laws in Wisconsin. As an assembly representative he authored a bill to decriminalize marijuana statewide in Wisconsin. The GOP prohibition candidate and special interest group Wisconsin Family Council are attacking Jarchow for his views on cannabis and calling him a supporter of legalization…. Are they right?
Eric Toney is the GOP prohibition candidate attacking Jarchow for his views. Toney authored and published an op ed piece entitled What’s Adam Jarchow smoking? which Toney said ““In the debate I won against my GOP primary opponents one thing was clear; Adam Jarchow is trying to hide his support for legalizing recreational marijuana. As a front-line prosecutor for nearly a decade, I’ve prosecuted many violent crimes that involve marijuana and I’m firmly opposed to legalizing this drug.”
“Team Toney” is so concerned about Adam Jarchow and his view that at the time of this article the only video Team Toney has posted on a campaign facebook page is a 2 second blip of Jarchow saying “We should legalize it and just be done with it”.
Karen Mueller is also in the race. Karen is a civil rights attorney from Chippewa Falls, where she resides with her family. She is the Founder and General Counsel of the Amos Center for Justice and Liberty, which defends those who have experienced a violation of one or more of their liberties by governmental agents or by private actors carrying out the work, purposes, or goals of the government to the detriment of citizens. Throughout her legal career, Karen has been a civil rights and employment law attorney in her own private practice and has worked with discrimination and harassment claims. Karen received her J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Mueller said during the debate that the DOJ should concentrate its resources on prosecuting violent crime.
Wisconsin Secretary of State
Candidate Coverage Coming Soon!
Wisconsin US Senate
Incumbent Ron Johnson faces Republican David Schroeder from Milwaukee. The voting record of Senator Ron Johnson speaks for itself and we have to consider him a prohibitionist and provides a lot of double talk on the issue. He was quoted saying “I can’t support it (recreational marijuana) myself because I think it sets a really bad example for young children,” Johnson said.
We asked the primary challenger Republican David Schroeder about his stance on cannabis reform and this is what he told us:
“Decriminalize it, legalize it, tax it. After legalization, use grants to assist small businesses in communities that have been previously harmed by its criminalization to invigorate those communities. Take organized crime’s role out of it.”
Wisconsin Congressional District 6
Incumbent Glen Grothman will face Republican Douglas Mullinex. What Grothman says on the issue sometimes just does not make sense. He claims to be a supporter of hemp cannabis, but when it comes to THC he changes his tune. His voting record speaks volumes.
*Update June 24th, 2022 : There is no Democrat Candidate that filed to run in this election. I met with Douglas Mullenix who had an excellent understanding on the issue of cannabis reform and I believe would be more helpful in federal legalization efforts than the Incumbent Grothman.
Wisconsin Congressional District 7
Incumbent Tom Tiffany will face Republican challenger David W. Kunelius II from Arbor Vitae.
Tom Tiffany has long opposed cannabis reform at the state level and now that he is a congressman he continues his assault on marijuana at the federal level.
When we asked candidate David Kunelius his stance on cannabis reform he replied “I believe marijuana should be legalized federally.“
Wisconsin Congressional District 8
Incumbent Mike Gallagher will face Republican challenger Shaun Clarmont from Oneida.
Mike Gallagher has opposed marijuana reform at the federal level. In April 2022, Gallagher, along with prohibitionist Scott Fitzgerald voted NO to even a medical marijuana research act. The basics of the bill aimed at reducing barriers to conducting studies into cannabis and allowing researchers to access products at state-legal dispensaries.
Shaun Clarmont displayed a great understanding of the cannabis laws and what is needed to reform them. He is blowing no smoke when it comes to his view on cannabis. He was up front and returned our request for his stance on marijuana reform. We believe Clarmont to be the Cannabis Candidate in this Republican Primary.
State Senate and Assembly Primary Candidates
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 7
Incumbent: Chris Larson (D)
Red Arnold (R) from Milwaukee: I personally think it should be decriminalized statewide but given the current political climate of the Republican party the best we could realistically hope for would be medical use. It’s a step in the right direction but regardless we have to be careful that we don’t screw it up like so many other States have with this “seed to weed” approach which would only allow wealthy individuals or corporations get in on the growing, cultivating & distributing of it.
Peter Gilbert (R) of St Francis: “I am not in favor of legalizing it because of the impaired driving. The driving is bad enough anyway. Also it can lead to other dangerous drugs.”
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 9
Incumbent: Devin LeMahieu (R) is facing two challengers in this Republican Primary. Senate Majority Leader LeMahieu has had a very rocky start to his position. He wants to wait for the FDA to act on medical cannabis even though a majority of Republicans in office have indicated a willingness to support medical marijuana under strict government oversight and program guidelines that limit conditions, do not allow smoking products and would not allow any home growing/cultivation.
The first challenger we analyze is Republican Jeanette Deschene from Manitowoc. She was easy to contact and very friendly. Jeanette shared extensively with us her view and cannabis reform. To make it short, she is stronger than LeMahieu on the issue, that is for sure. Is she a Cannabis Caucus Candidate? We would like to think so. If elected she would replace a thorn in the side of legalization with that of a nice organically grown bud.
Ruth Villareal is a Republican from Sheboygan that has also filed to run in this race a provided this statement to a constituent: “As a nurse of 15 years I do believe that cannabis has its place at a viable treatment and has medicinal benefits.“
There is no Democrat filed to run in this race during the general election, so the primary takes the seat.
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 19
Incumbent: Roger Roth is gone and off to another race, he wants to become Lt. Governor. He has been no friend of marijuana reform up, but recently seemed to lighten his opposition a little to medical marijuana/THC.
Rachael “RCG” Cabral-Guevara from Appleton will leave her Assembly seat to seek this Senate seat. During her first term in office, she was the only Republican to co-sponsor the Democratic version of medical marijuana that allows smoking products and allows home grows. She also talks a lot about the issue. We had chance to meet with her in Neenah during her first year in office. We were impressed by her knowledge about the subject of cannabis law reform. She was great to have a conversation with and we left the meeting feeling confident that she does care about this issue. We also authored a blog article entitled Who is Rachael “RCG” Cabral-Guevara?
Andrew Thomsen (R) Appleton responded to a few of our questions, but we kind of figured he was a prohibitionist. He seems to be running a negative door to door campaign, bashing his fellow Republican for her views on marijuana reform. We asked him the following questions and here are his answers:
Question: What is your stance on marijuana reform? Thomsen: In speaking with members of law enforcement, marijuana legalization is not a position I can support. The argument that legalization would provide a windfall of revenue for the state is overstated. Moreover, until it is legalized at the federal level, I believe the state should comply with federal law.
Question: What about your congressman (Mike Gallagher – R) says 10 amendment gives states the right to legalize and the feds don’t fund enforcement of federal marijuana laws due to no funding in budget? Thomsen: The 10th Amendment reserves to the States the ability to legislate where the federal government does not. And the federal government has made clear that the possession of marijuana anywhere in the United States is illegal. Whether the federal government funds enforcement does not change the federal law. Until the federal government changes the law, I do not believe there is any legislating that the state can do under our Constitution. Moreover, in my conversations with law enforcement, I have affirmed my position that the legalization of marijuana is something that I cannot support.
Question: Do you believe the federal government is correct or do you support removing removing marijuana from the schedule it is in? Thomsen: If Wisconsinites want to decriminalize marijuana, they should work with Congressman Gallagher to change the federal law. Nevertheless, if the federal government did leave it to the States to decide, I would still not support the legalization of the marijuana and would vote against it.
Question: The state of Wisconsin allows municipalities and counties the ability to govern 25 grams or less, by statue. Many municipalities have removed the fine or lowered it to $1 or a nominal amount…. at the state level marijuana is a misdemeanor or felony and the state does not have a citation/non criminal charge… would you support a state wide decriminalization? Thomsen: I am not for decriminalization.
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 21
Incumbent: Van H. Wanggaard (R) is a huge obstacle to any marijuana reform at all. He is powerful and usually sits on a committee that kills any bill before it. Replacing this dinosaur with any elephant seems justified.
Since there is no Democrat filed to run in the general election; it is up to Jay Stone (R) from Pleasant Prairie to get the job done. His campaign website has medical marijuana as a campaign issue, stating this: Compassion for Those Who are Suffering: My older sister Robin began to have balance problems when she was a teen. A medical doctor diagnosed Robin with multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 24. Robin’s physician told her about medical studies that suggested smoking marijuana may help her cope with MS. For the last 11 years of Robin’s life, Robin was paralyzed and confined to her bed. The only medicine Robin wanted was her medical marijuana. Based on what I witnessed, Robin’s medical marijuana improved the quality of her life and may have actually extended it. I believe other people who suffer from medical conditions similar to my sister Robin should have a medical marijuana option.
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 23
Incumbent: Kathy Bernier (R) retires, so this seat is up for grabs, but only in the GOP world. No Democrat filed to run in the general election.
Whose is this three way battle and how many votes will decide this race? Chances are not many…….
Assembly Rep Jesse James (R) leaves his seat and is seeking the Senate now. He is proud that he wants to be the leader on keeping Wisconsin marijuana illegal. He is the “Mr. Reasons Not to Legalize” and wants to take that mentality to the Senate.
Brian Westrate (R) from Fall Creek during the 2018 referendum campaign said this about county non-binding referendums: “he thinks legalizing marijuana in the state isn’t likely to happen any time soon. To me this was an underhanded tactic by the democrats to turn their voter base out.” The news report went onto add that Westrate said “if Wisconsin goes down the road of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, he’d like to see a system in place where doctors are writing prescriptions for legitimate ailments.“
In 2017 he was quoted as saying “There are people for whom medical marijuana appears to be the only remedy as an end of life care issue or perhaps medical science has failed to come up with a way to lessen their pain with an ailment their dealing with. I don’t advocate the use of illegal drugs or smoking anything… I think this would be something that would be worthwhile to put before the people.”
Sandra Scholz from Chippewa Falls is the third candidate in the race and we have contacted her campaign and will report back when she answers.
STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 29
Incumbent: Jerry Petrowski (R) never really made any public comments about his stance on marijuana reform and not much was known about him on the issue. The three way primary race will see Cory Tomczyk from Mosinee, Brent Jacobson from Mosinee and Jon Kaiser from Ladysmith battle it out. We have not contacted their campaigns yet as we would like to find a field activist to help directly in this district.
Cory Tomczyk told The Wisconsin Cannabis Activist Network that he supports medical marijuana and it should have been legal by now. But he cannot support outright legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
Jon Kaiser: I think our state has dropped the ball. Every state around us has legalized and we missed out on the boom, but that gives us the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a great opportunity to bring in a lot of tax revenue.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 1
Incumbent: Joel Kitchens (R) will face primary challenger in Milt Swagel of Kewaunee.
Milt Swagel told us this: My stance is that hemp is hemp,and marijuana is marijuana. Hemp is legal,and marijuana is not. I see no reason to legalize marijuana. I will not vote for the legalization of marijuana.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 5
Incumbent: Jim Steineke (R) does not seek re-election and three fight it out in a primary battle.
Joy Goeben of Hobart: I support medical marijuana and would like to see more research to find areas where it would be helpful and in what areas it is not effective. I am a strong supporter of veterans and have looked into the benefits of medical marijuana on mental health conditions such as PTSD, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. I understand that there is a trend where marijuana is being substituted for other drugs which can allow for improvements in overall health. Medical professionals should have access to the tools they need to help their patients, marijuana is one of those tools. I am still researching the use of recreational marijuana. While I am a strong supporter of personal freedom, I want to carefully consider the issue because I do not want to introduce or support legislation that will cause harm.
Tim Greenwood of Kaukauna: Fully supports legalization of marijuana.
Kraig Knaack of Freedom: I support legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and am definitely open to its legalization for recreational purposes (although I would like to see a plan for some regulation of it). I think current possession of marijuana should be decriminalized. And while I’m generally opposed to new or higher taxation, I would support taxing marijuana sales (ideally utilizing that tax money for a specific purpose). Adding the tax should not be excessive – it shouldn’t be viewed as a “punishment” – but I believe some taxation is appropriate.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 6
Incumbent: Gary Tauchen (R) does not seek re-election and six come out of the woodwork to replace him. Wow, what a primary battle and this seat will be decided by a vote or two!
David Kohn of Bonduel
Nathan Michael of Tigerton
Matthew Kyle Albert of Appleton so far is looking the greenest, but we will keep you posted. Boots on the ground are working in this district!
Craig Arrowood of Shawano
Dean Martin Neubert of Hortonville
Peter Schmidt of Bonduel
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 13
Incumbent: Sara Rodriguez (D) did not seek re-election to this seat.
Tom Michalski of Elm Grove
Erik Ngutse of Waukesha
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 31
Incumbent: Amy Loudenbeck (R) does not seek re-election and three compete in the primary.
Maryann Zimmerman of Whitewater
Jason Dean of Whitewater: My stance on marijuana reform is that it needs to happen. On the medical side, there is data that shows that it is an effective treatment for some conditions. On a social side, with proper controls it can serve as a great revenue source for the state while reducing the workload of our legal system.
Ellen Schutt of Clinton
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 32
Incumbent: Tyler August (R) is a prohibitionist and the right hand man of Robin Vos. Bart Williams of West Bend will challenge him in the primary.
Bart Williams told us I support medical marijuana as long as we implement it the way it is intended. I want to see what happens with the implementation of medical marijuana before commenting on recreational cannabis.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 33
Incumbent: Cody Horlacher (R) does not seek re-election and two battle it out.
Scott Johnson from Jefferson
Dale Oppermann from Jefferson
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 52
Incumbent: Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R) does not seek re-election and four will fight to the political death in a GOP primary. Our lucky contestants are all from Fond du Lac:
Donald R. Hannemann: We have had several conversations with him and do not feel he is the enemy and would be willing to work with us.
Robert P. Thresher
Jerry L. O’Connor is opposed to reform stating “This is not a cause I am supporting“.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 59
Incumbent: Timothy Ramthun (R) does not seek re-election.
Vinny Egle from Kewaskum is our first pick in the primary over Ty Bodden from Hilbert. Bodden does not support recreational marijuana and is doing “research” on medical cannabis and also speaking to law enforcement about medical and decriminalization.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 60
Incumbent: Robert Brooks (R) did co-sponsor medical marijuana and decriminalization, but he faces a challenger in Samuel Kreig of Port Washington.
Sam Kreig told us this: My official response to your question is that I currently have no plan for reform. While I believe that marijuana reform is on the minds of many voters, I have decided to advocate on different issues, like ending career politicians with term limits, bringing down heated rhetoric, and improving police/civilian relationships.
Now, I know that this answer is not what you’re looking for. So I shall give you a personal response as well. I don’t believe that marijuana is something I would personally want more availability for. Humans don’t need drugs (or alcohol) to live long, happy, and fulfilling lives. That being said, just because a person smoked some marijuana doesn’t make them a bad person. There is something to be said for actively breaking the law, but that doesn’t make you a criminal. So with that, if a bill came to the floor of the Assembly removing criminal statutes to use of marijuana I would vote “yes.” Not because I see any benefit to marijuana, but because I find 6 months in prison and a $1000 fine for a first offense. And, a second time offense being punished with a $10,000 fine and up to 3.5 years in prison is an unusual punishment.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 61
Incumbent: Samantha Kerkman (R) does not seek re-election.
Mike Honold of Union Grove
Amanda Nedweski of Pleasant Prairie
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 63
Incumbent: Robin J. Vos (R) faces Adam Steen of Burlington.
Robin Vos inability to advance medical marijuana under his watch show he is either a liar or poor leader. It is hard to believe anything Vos says regarding cannabis.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 68
Incumbent: Jesse James (R) does not seek re-election.
Hillarie Roth from Altoona: I have no problem with medical marijuana at all. As a registered nurse I understand the benefits of controlled, managed use for a wide range of conditions. Recreational use, however, is not something that I would advocate for.
Karen Hurd of Fall Creek: I am currently researching and studying the issue of the legalization of marijuana. I have been given written material by constituents on both sides of the issue—and then I have my own educational/clinical experience in working with those of my clients that are users of marijuana. My Master of Science degree in Biochemistry has given me the molecular knowledge of how cannabinoids impact cells. However, there is more yet to know, and other considerations most be taken into account besides the impact at the cellular level. I also am gathering data from other states as well that have legalized marijuana and what impact it has had—whether pro or con. Many constituents have spoken to me about this issue—some pro, some con.
Chris Connell of Eau Claire: I am a staunch Republican with strong libertarian leanings. I’ve pretty much felt like weed should be legal my whole life. BUT, with recent developments like the newer super potent strains and fentanyl poisoning, I am more hesitant these days. In the purest form of marijuana use, I believe a person should be able to grow his own and consume it himself in the comfort of his home. That is libertarian. Anything other than that muddies the waters and I will need to learn much more.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 71
Incumbent: Katrina Shankland (D)
Repbulican Primary Challengers are Scott Soik of Stevens Point and Robert Glisczinski of Amherst.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 73
Incumbent: Nick Milroy (D) did not seek re-election.
Republican Primary Challengers are Scott Luostari of Poplar and Angie Sapik of Lake Nebagamon.
Angie Sapik: Let’s be clear on my stance with cannabis. I support legalizing and regulating the use of cannabis and believe the legislation should be conducted at the state level. I’m a pro-business candidate and cannabis business is booming. I also support decriminalization for possession and the freedom for recreational or medicinal use of cannabis. While I have not authored or co-sponsored a legalization bill, I believe I would be inclined to support such legislation.
Scott Luostari: I support legalizing marijuana and here is why. The market is never going to disappear. So the least we could do is try to determine who would have control of it.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 74
Incumbent: Beth Meyers (D) does not seek re-election.
Republican Primary Challengers are Chanz Green and John Schey of Glidden.
John Schey has marijuana reform listed as a campaign platform issue under his beliefs section on his campaign website Schey for Assembly.
We received no response from Chanz Green.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 80
Incumbent: Sondy Pope (D) did not seek re-election.
Republicans are Nathan Graewin of Verona and Jacob Luginbuhl of Verona.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 81
Incumbent: Dave Considine (D) will see one of these two in the general election:
Shellie Benish of Lodi or Bob Wood of Baraboo
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 83
Incumbent: Chuck Wichgers (R) is out of this race because of re-districting.
Nik Rettinger of Mukwonago or Pat Goldhammer of Waterford will take the seat as no Democrat has filed to run in this race.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 84
Incumbent: Mike Kuglitsch (R) does not seek re-election. Three will compete for the seat and go onto the general election.
Laura Barker from Greenfield: If you are asking about the legalization of recreational marijuana, then if such a bill would come before the legislature- I would vote against it.
Bob Donovan from Greenfield
David Karst from Greenfield
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 87
Incumbent: James W. Edming (R) will face a primary challenger in Michael Bub (R) of Medord.
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 92
Incumbent: Treig E. Pronschinske (R) will face a primary challenger in Ryan T. Owens of Osseo
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 96
Incumbent: Loren Oldenburg (R) will have a Republican primary challenger in Holly Ottesen Liska (R) of Hillsboro.
Holly Ottesen has been in conversation with us and at this point we feel is much more open to reform than the Incumbent.
Coming soon will be updates on current candidates! But you can help, if you know a candidate listed and their views on marijuana reform, contact us today!