I was just glancing at the upcoming November 2023 Senator Agard (D) Grass Routes Tour locations and noticed that they are in or near Republican districts. Way to go! I do not know if she planned this, but it is smart thinking in my eyes. Good job Senator Agard.
Senate Bill 486 was introduced by Senator Agard (D) on October 9th, 2023. The bill would legalize cannabis in Wisconsin for both adult-use consumers and qualified medical patients. Adults over the age of 21 will be legally permitted to possess up to five ounces of cannabis, and may grow up to 12 plants in their own private residence.
Agard’s bill was co-sponsored by 10 out of 11 Senate Democrats and 26 out of 35 Assembly Democrats. No Republican has co-sponsored or authored legislation of this manner.
Could the Kenosha targets be more than nearby Republicans like Senator Van Wanggaard (R)? It is note worthy that Senator Bob Wirch was the only Democrat Senator not to sign onto Agard’s bill and represents Kenosha. Representative Tip McGuire (D) from Kenosha was also absent from co-sponsorship on the assembly side so far in 2023. Rep McGuire (D) was a co-sponsor of the 2021-22 adult use legislation to legalize cannabis use in Wisconsin. Senator Wirch has been around since 1992 and never co-sponsored adult use legislation. Wirch was the only Democrat to co-sponsor the Republican medical marijuana legislation. Senator Wirch was also singled out back in October 2019 as not being a co-sponsor of the bi-partisan medical marijuana effort that allowed smoking products and home grows (SB507). Senator Van Waggaard (R) and and the Assembly Reps. Amanada Nedweski (R), Robert Wittke (R) and Robin Vos (R) are all near Kenosha.
The city of Oshkosh and Winnebago County in general have been the attention of marijuana reform for a long time now. Mark Kelderman would be proud that Oshkosh attracted a Grass Routes Tour stop. Although the City of Oshkosh is represented Democrat Lori Palmeri, the overall Senate District is ruled by Republican Dan Feyen. The two other assembly districts are held by Republicans Michael Schraa and Jerry O’Connor.
Feyen gave early signs of hope to medical marijuana patients in Wisconsin during a April 2019 interview saying “he’s open to the idea“. But during 2019, the Assembly Republicans prefiled a bill for the 2020 legislative session to create a medical marijuana program in Wisconsin (Senate Bill 683) which he failed to co-sponsor. The support of Senator Feyen on this legislation would have been critical in the Senate. Feyen continues to say he wants to hear from law enforcement and doctors for years now. With all the power of the Senator, shouldn’t Feyen be asking these types of professionals to attending listening sessions and public hearings. We are sure Senator Dan Feyen (R) heard from doctors, during the campaign season we sent every candidate with medical background to him. Will he show up and talk to his constituents and colleagues about the issue? If he is your Senator, call him and ask him. His phone number is (608) 266-5300.
Rep. Jerry O’Connor (R) said “This is not a cause I am supporting“ during the Republican Primary battles. Since than, constituents have contacted our office about this guy often. How this guy got this Committee on Financial Institutions (Vice-Chair) position is beyond comprehension. If this guy represents you, please apply the pressure verbally via telephone at (608) 237-9152.
Hard to read at times, but proof is in the pudding. Rep. Schraa (R) was a 2017 sponsor of decriminalization and a first Republican on the marijuana reform scene in many many years…….. and in 2020 sponsored a Republican version of medical marijuana to create a program here in our state. The legislation he sponsored was designed to get the issue a public hearing. The bill he sponsored was stuck in committee he is a member of, so who knows what the future holds for this Assembly Rep from the Oshkosh area. He has come a long way since 2013. He ran unopposed in 2022 and Schraa was mentioned in the article “All Eyes on these Republicans in 2023.” We have been watching but have not saw much of this guys recent support for reforming marijuana laws. If you are in his district, put the pressure on by calling him today at (608) 237-9153.
There a bunch of Republicans around the Stevens Point area. Let’s start with Republican Patrick Testin. Medical Marijuana legislation with home grows and smoking products is supported and co-sponsored in the Senate by Republican Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point). He only did that one session because he said he took too much heat from Republican leadership for doing so. No doubt friendly Republicans fear having a shitty office assignment, being excluded from committee appointments and just general harassment from their leadership for supporting cannabis reform. He heard it from this guy and others. No one deserves a “nickname” with racist undertones being applied by their boss and it should not be happening at this level in our state elected body, but it does. These people are all human and humans are cruel to each other to often.
Anyways, Testin is the first Republican to have signed their name to a medical marijuana bill in nearly two decades and I respect him for that. He knows what is right and wrong. He will eventually will buck his leadership position on cannabis and do the right thing. He might just be the first Republican to author a legalization bill. He might just seek a higher seat someday.
Scott Krug (R) is an assembly representative in the overall Testin district. Rep. Krug could do a much better job communicating with constituents in the district about the issue. We have mixed reports from people in his district on what Krug is willing to support. What we do know for sure is that shortly after being re-elected in 2018 he announced to us all to expect Republican bill(s) this session on medical marijuana, but as the session lingered on and constituents contacted him, he seemed to be silent. He cannot be silent anymore if you call him at (608) 237-9172.
There is an assembly district 70 that stretches from La Crosse area to Stevens Point. It is represented by someone on the “Republican Leadership Team” that often blamed for killing progress on cannabis reform. Who is Rep. Nancy Vendermeer (R – Tomah) anyways….. Elected since 2014, this Tomah area representative has never co-sponsored legislation to reform marijuana laws. In 2018 VanderMeer’s campaign did not respond to multiple contact attempts from a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reporter which poised a marijuana question to her challenger. She is a former automobile dealer; small business owner; family dairy farmer and is currently the Majority Caucus Secretary. If you live in her district, give her a jingle at (608) 237-9170.
Shankland and who is next?
The Democrat from Stevens Point is Katrina Shankland (Assembly District 71) and is an original bill sponsor for adult use legislation. She has announced intensions to run for Congress to challenge and replace Republican Derrick Van Orden in 2024 and that leaves her assembly seat up for grabs.
Assembly District 71 does see a candidate on the Republican side come up again and again and usually looses real bad to Shankland. His name is Scott Soik. He most likely will not win in this district even without a Democrat Incumbent on the ticket, but with potential map changes, anything goes in Wisconsin. Scott Soik seemed to have dodged the issue and question in past candidacies and repeats his performance. After finally tracking him down his first thing was the “it is federally illegal excuse”. He said NO, he did support local counties/municipalities decriminalizing/removing penalties for simple possession. Although he did say he supported medical marijuana, when questioned on why that could be permissible giving the federal conflict he previously mentioned he seemed to painted in a corner. He did state that he did not want his children exposed to pot.
So that is my article and thoughts. I have no idea what Agard is really thinking, this article is just speculation, content and notes about the Republicans we are trying to work with on the issue. Good luck, be kind to each other and keep putting the ACT in activism…. no one else will speak for you better than yourself, make some calls today!