If you are following politics and the 2022 Election coverage, you will know that only half of our Wisconsin State Senators are up for election every two years. That means we are stuck with the half Wisconsin elected back in 2020 for the upcoming legislative session.
I recently covered the 2022 Candidates stance on cannabis, but now we take a closer look at the ones we are stuck with for sure from the 2020 election.
Wisconsin State Senators
Senate District 2 – Robert Cowles (R) – limited medical bill.
Senate District 4 – Lena Taylor (D) – Co-sponsor of adult use legislation.
Senate District 6 – LaTonya Johnson (D) – Co-sponsor of adult use legislation.
Senate District 8 – Alberta Darling (R) – Opposed.
Senate District 10 – Rob Stafsholt (R) – medical but never co-sponsored any bill.
Senate District 12 – Mary Felzkowski (R) – Author of Republican version of limited medical marijuana.
Senate District 14 – Joan Ballweg (R) – Opposed.
Senate District 16 – Melissa Agard (D) – Author of adult use legislation.
Senate District 18 – Dan Feyen (R) – Opposed
Senate District 20 – Duey Stroebel (R) – Opposed.
Senate District 22 – Bob Wirch (D) – Medical marijuana past co-sponsor.
Senate District 24 – Patrick Testin (R) – Medical marijuana past co-sponsor.
Senate District 26 – Kelda Roys (D) – Co-sponsor of adult use legislation.
Senate District 28 – Julian Bradley (R) – Limited medical marijuana
Senate District 30 – Eric Wimberger (R) – Medical Marijuana, never co-sponsored.
Senate District 32 – Brad Paff (D) – Co-sponsor of adult use legislation.
So what about them and the numbers?
These ten (10) Republicans and Six (6) Democrats listed above were elected in 2020 and are retaining their seats.
Four (4) Republicans oppose any measures and six (6) Republicans indicate support for medical marijuana.
Five (5) Democrats who have previously co-sponsored adult use (recreational marijuana) and one (1) Democrat that has not.
It is painfully obviously that Republicans do not want to really work with the Democrats on the issue, but if they did, we have twelve (12) votes for some sort of medical marijuana legislation based off the 2020 elected Senators alone. That is good! If these two parties work together, Wisconsin needs only 17 votes to pass a bill.
This is also bad, because if the Republicans want to go it alone, they will need gather 11 more votes within GOP ranks to pass any partisan bill the GOP throws at the wall to see if it sticks. I am not sure they can do that based on the 2022 Senate Candidate Analysis which shows only seven (7) of the total seventeen (17) GOP candidates supporting medical marijuana.
Predictions on the 17 seats up for election in 2022
Although the election is not until November 8th, we can draw some pretty good indications from the unfair maps which seats will go to which party. If we look at the 2022 Wisconsin State Senate candidates, it seems five (5) Democrats are pretty certain to retain their seats in the Senate and all five (5) of those have all co-sponsored medical marijuana measures in the past. That is our number, we win, right? Not so fast……..
We know some of the 2022 Senate races are unopposed and that gives Republicans five (5) seats for sure with two (2) of them being supportive of medical marijuana. The probability is that five (5) Republicans that support medical marijuana will be elected to the Senate in 2022 also. So we win again, right? Not so fast……
Republicans seem to be turning their noses at any collaboration with Democrats on a medical marijuana bill. To get seventeen (17) total votes within the Republican Party only is no easy task. It looks like the possibility of 20 or 21 total seats going to Republicans and we know for sure that there are more than three or four absolute NO votes in the GOP elected body. The chances of Republicans getting it done alone are almost zero and the possibility of the Republicans working with Democrats on the issue is only slightly better.
The pressure is really on for the GOP friendly candidates to turn their opposed Republican colleagues into yes votes or work with Democrats. Working with Democrats is a sure fire way to pass a medical cannabis law and everyone knows it.
If Democrats were in control of law making last session, Wisconsin would have recreational marijuana under Governor Tony Evers leadership. Wisconsin would be almost 2 years into our program.
With Republicans in control, the partisan divide needs to stop, especially on this issue. Republicans also need to elect their leadership wisely and oust a majority of the leadership they elected in 2020.
Senate Republican Leadership 2021-22
- Majority Leader – Sen. Devin LeMahieu – opposed
- President – Sen. Chris Kapenga – opposed
- Assistant Majority Leader – Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) – opposed
- President Pro Tempore – Sen. Pat Testin (R-Stevens Point) – medical
- Caucus Chair – Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) – opposed
- Caucus Vice-Chair – Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) – medical bill author, but retired in 2022.
Form the Wisconsin Cannabis Caucus
A different approach is needed this session. Rather than competing bills and competing personalities within the party dynamics, Wisconsin wants weed and they want our elected officials to work together to get something done on the issue this upcoming session.
Wisconsin needs elected officials who sponsored the various bills throughout past sessions and the newly elected legislators supporting reform on the campaign trail to work together towards sensible cannabis reform in a bi-partisan nature.
With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, we request key Senate and Assembly allies to form the first-ever Wisconsin Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to reform state cannabis laws.