WI State Senate

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2023 24 wisconsin state senate
2023 24 Wisconsin State Senate Cannabis Support Analysis

As an Assembly Representative he ignored constituents on the issue starting back in 2010.  As a Senator he repeats his past performance.

“Open to medical”, “medical marijuana use regulated by a doctor”, “supports medical marijuana” are all things we can find in the news archives and what we hear from him in district of Green Bay.  He has been around since the late 80s and we are sure he has heard from enough people over the years to form his opinion and muster courage to sponsor a bill. 

We have Senator Carpenter labeled as a cannabis supporter.  He was a 2023-24 co-sponsor of adult use legalization measures.

A consistent and reliable sponsor of Adult Use, Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization.

Republican assembly representative from Brookfield has not co-sponsored any legislation on marijuana reform since elected in 2012.

In 2018 his candidate interview said he is against recreational marijuana, he said marijuana is a gateway drug and is even hesitant on medical marijuana.

In 2019-20 Senator Johnson sponsored both Adult Use / Recreational Marijuana and the medical marijuana bill that would allow home grows and smoking products for patients.   She did not sponsor the decriminalization measure. 

In 2019 Senator Larson sponsored Adult Use, Grow Your Own/Smoking Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization and that is all we can ask.  Larson was re-elected to the Wisconsin State Senate for a third term in November 2018.

Knodl also said he has “always” supported legalizing medical marijuana, as long as a measure to legalize comes with a provision requiring a doctor’s prescription. He emphatically opposes recreational marijuana though.

My notes from the 2022 election coverage say Dan Knodl was a past committee member and not very vocal about the issue, but in 2021 he finally co-sponsored the Republican version of medical marijuana. Since he has been around since 2008 and the last time we had a public hearing in the Assembly was in 2009, I do not really believe he has “always” supported medical marijuana. He certainly was not labeled as the first Republican to publicly support the issue and we can find no information he supported any legislation prior to the 2021 session. We are glad is now aboard with some sort of reform.

He was not as vocal opponent of reform until he was elected Senate Majority Leader. Now he uses the “It remains illegal at the federal government” and when asked about the GOP push for a medical marijuana start up bill to become law, he uses the “FDA” as an excuse.

Although past news articles have quoted Rep. Stafsholt as “supporting” medical marijuana and decriminalization, he has failed to sponsor any legislation on the issue and has given contradicting statements on medical marijuana according to news archives

Voting NO to hemp along side Sentor Stroebel gives a clue into the mind of the legislator.  Dismissing public polling and district support seals the deal on Senator Nass failing grade for consecutive sessions.  

She is fighting an uphill battle in the worse committee assignments ever for her legislation she authored to start a medical marijuana program in 2019.   She has sponsored a bill, giving multiple positive news statements and understands a great deal about the topic of marijuana reform.  Her willingness to learn more and all the extra credit she is doing helps secure her solid rating with activists.

Senator Jagler has been “swayed” to support medical marijuana while still as an Assembly Rep. He did sit on the committee for the 2019-20 that medical marijuana bills.   As a Republican he did not officially co-sponsor any medical marijuana legislation, but he did express the need for a public hearing on adult use / recreational marijuana and with a little work he could easily be a medical marijuana leader and lead the conversation on cannabis reform within the Republican Party.

Rep. Ballweg seemed sympathetic back in 2009 while the Republicans were in the minority under a Dem controlled legislature. 2010 changed as Republicans took control and basically killed everything marijuana related, always. Since then, Rep. Ballweg has really failed on the issue.

During 2019, Assembly Republicans worked on the issue and prefiled a bill for the 2020 legislative session to create a medical marijuana program in Wisconsin (Assembly Bill 750 / Senate Bill 683) which Rep. Ballweg (R-Markesan) failed to co-sponsor. 

March 2020 Republicans circulated a decriminalization bill for co-sponsorship which she did not co-sponsor.

NOTE: Advisory Referendums on Marijuana in 2018 passed 78% in Marquette County and 80% in Sauk County and Rep. Ballweg Constituent Surveys in 2019 had 73-83% support for marijuana reform.

Past co-sponsor of legalization measures and long time supporter of cannabis reform.

Leading the way in the Assembly for legal marijuana in Wisconsin and in 2020 she took over the seat from Senator Miller who retired. We expect high amount of activity to come from this office again this session.

After serving 10 years in the legislature, Republican Senator Marklein has not really moved on his stance.  He must not have been entertained enough because he did not even co-sponsor the Republican bill to create a medical marijuana program for Wisconsin.  The 2019 Senate Bill 683 does not allow home growing of marijuana or marijuana smoking products.  Vetted and supported by the Caucus, if Senator Marklein was a leader he would have supported this measure.  If Senator Marklein cared about the sick, dying and disabled of his district that benefit from medical marijuana, he would have done more.

In 2021-22, Marklein is the co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee that removed marijuana reform from Governor Evers budget.

Feyen gave early signs of hope to medical marijuana patients in Wisconsin during a April 2019 interview saying “he’s open to the idea“. 

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.

He continues to say he wants to hear from law enforcement and doctors.

She says she is open to any innovative ways to bring in revenues. She said “other states have legalized adult use and we know the pros and cons, and many constituents have contacted her for support of adult use cannabis.

Republican leadership assigned her Room 420 North her first term in session.

In 2021-22, “RCG” was the only Republican to co-sponsor a medical marijuana measure that allowed home grows and smoking products.

Most recent email from the Senator: “I’m opposed to the legalization of marijuana for any use. Many studies have shown that marijuana may lead to the use of other drugs and a destructive lifestyle. There are currently clinically approved pain therapy methods that do not have the same negative effects as marijuana.”

In the past he has issued press statements opposing reform and is always a vocal hater of the cannabis plant, even voting NO to Industrial Hemp. Senator Stroebel has blocked bills from public hearings as committee chair.

Republican Senator from Racine has not co-sponsored any legislation on marijuana reform since elected in 2010 and most likely will not move is stance of “just say no”.   After coming off a nearly 30 year career with the Racine police force, he now serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.  In April 2019 he wrote an entire op ed piece entitled Is it high time to legalize in Wisconsin? No … The harmful effects on health and society outweigh any potential benefits

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.  Previous legislative sessions adult use and decriminalization bills have failed to advance to even a public hearing under his watch and he is poised to do the same in the 2019-2020 session for Adult Use SB 377 and Decriminalization SB 577.

Assembly Rep. Wirch (D-Keosha) has been elected since 1992.

Senate Bill 507 / Assembly Bill 570 (Medical Marijuana with home grows/smoking) and Assembly Bill 750 / Senate Bill 683 (Republican Creation of a Medical Marijuana Program) are both in his committee.

Rep. Wirch was the only Democrat to co-sponsor the Republican medical marijuana legislation.  Senator Wirch was 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).  

The leading prohibitionist in the Assembly, Rep. Jesse James was a co-sponsor of the 2019 Republican attempt to create a medical marijuana program (the “pill bill” that did not allow smoking products or home grows).

He has been outspoken as wanting to be the lead on stopping recreational marijuana reform from happening in Wisconsin. Long time prohibitionist and mega rich man Senator Duey Stroebel was listening when Rep. James was mouthing off, and the two have collaborated to concentrate on finding some way to increase penalties for cannabis use.

During the 2021 legislation session, Rep. Jesse James circulated a bill to increase the penalty levels for BHO, butane hash oil products, both manufacturing and simple possession.   Author of SB 440 – Butane Hash Oil Enhanced Penalty Bill.

James is a Member of the Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.

Medical Marijuana legislation with home grows and smoking products is supported and co-sponsored in the Senate by Republican Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point).

Testin is the first Republican to have signed their name to a medical marijuana bill in nearly two decades.

The 2019 GOP Spring Survey in his district showed 67% of his base supported medical marijuana and Quinn did end up co-sponsoring the Republican attempt to create a medical marijuana program.   Since elected in 2014 Rep. Quinn has seemed like a marijuana reformer. 

In 2022 he said this: “I don’t believe the government should stand in the way of somebody who has a chronic or terminal illness that could find relief by consuming marijuana in some form, which is why I also voted for “Right to Try” legislation when I was in the state assembly,” he said.

But Quinn doesn’t think the state is prepared for full legalization. “I also do not believe that those who use marijuana recreationally are bad people,” said Quinn. “If you go to work, pay your taxes, and don’t neglect your health or the health of your children, I have a hard time saying what you can or cannot do in the confines of your own home.

“The key concern for law enforcement, which is a group I would look to for guidance on this, is that there is no good way to tell when someone is driving high. Unless we expect our police to start performing blood draws on the side of the road, we need the technology to make sure our roadways are safe before expanding more opportunities for impaired driving.”  

In 2009, her first term in the Assembly, she co-authored Assembly Bill 554/Senate Bill 368, to legalize medical marijuana. She sponsored the same bill in her second term as well. Elected to the Senate in 2020, we hope to see her as a sponsor of adult use legislation.

She says “Adults should be free to use marijuana without fear of prosecution. We need to stop using our criminal justice resources to prosecute and incarcerate people for cannabis use. We can earn revenue, increase Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, and help stop the unequal enforcement that drives racial disparities in our criminal justice system. It’s time to legalize cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, and grow Wisconsin’s economy.” – source

Elected in 2012 Hesselbein, in past sessions she only co-sponsored Industrial Hemp and CBD.  This Middleton area Democrat ran unopposed as an incumbent in  2018 and ended up co-sponsoring medical marijuana with home grows and smoking products, along with decriminalization for the 2019-2020 session.

During the 2021-22 session she and a majority of all Democrats co-sponsored Assembly Bill 846 to legalize adult use cannabis.

Bradley comes out against recreational marijuana, but understands people turn to marijuana for medicinal purposes, his concern is he wants to insure it goes through the same process that any drug would before it is legalized for medicinal purposes and sent out to people. Not in favor of over regulatory situation, but before people are taking a drug prescribed to them that drug has cleared all hurdles.  – source July 30, 2020 candidate interview.

Cory Tomczyk told us that he supports medical marijuana and it should have been legal by now. But he cannot support outright legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

Wimberger ran in 2014 for State Assembly (lost by 18% points) and who also ran for the Wisconsin State Senate for District 30 in 2016 and only lost by 3% points will try for State Senate again in 2020 as the incumbent retires. He joined the Political Radar crew to in 2016 to discuss several key issues that are emerging in Wisconsin. They discuss the viability of marijuana legalization in Wisconsin and its challenges.  And now it is 2020 and “It is just a plant” came from Wimbergers lips.  What does that tell us.  Over the years this candidate has made several public statements about marijuana reform in interviews.

Senator Smith sponsored both Adult Use / Recreational Marijuana and the medical marijuana bill that would allow home grows and smoking products for patients in the 2019-20 session.   He did not sponsor the decriminalization measure. 

Senator Pfaff said “I believe that when it comes to medical purposes, we in Wisconsin need to move forward in terms of medical purposes. I will work with law enforcement as well as community social groups, as well as educators as far as legalizing recreational marijuana.” New 19 La Crosse WXOW Interview.

Senator Chris Kapenga (R)

Kapenga says “Legalizing the use of marijuana is not good for Wisconsin. If the use of marijuana really was
harmless, an affirming dope-using vote by the legislature wouldn’t be necessary.”  

Kapenga was elected Republican Senate President for the 2021-22 legislative session.

Feb 2021 in Response to Governor Evers Budet plan to allow marijuana sales, Kapenga issued the following press release:

Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana Would be Disastrous for Wisconsin

“The legalization of recreational marijuana is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites. There are
serious health and societal issues that need to be understood, and Governor Evers shouldn’t
sacrifice the safety of the people of Wisconsin—particularly our children—in pursuit of the mighty

“The Governor is adamant we follow science when it comes to COVID-19 but turns a blind eye when
it comes to legalizing a drug that has no FDA approval—which all other medicines are subject to.

“What happened to the honorable goal of keeping the people of Wisconsin and our kids safe?

“The National Academy of Medicine points to a significant correlation between marijuana and
psychosis, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders, particularly in teenagers where the risk of
developing schizophrenia increases three fold.

“In addition, an investigation published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
Pediatrics concludes, “Cannabis use disorder is common among adolescents and young adults with
mood disorders and is associated with an elevated risk of self-harm, overall mortality, and death by
unintentional overdose and homicide in this already vulnerable population.”

“What happened to the honorable goal of keeping our communities safe?

“In Colorado, the crime rate increased 11 times faster than the nation since the legalization of
marijuana, including a nearly 20% increase in violent crimes.

“At the same time, drugged driving went from killing roughly one person every 6.5 days to every 2.5
days, since legalization was passed. A similar increase happened in Washington state, where the
number of traffic deaths due to marijuana-impaired drivers doubled the year after recreational
marijuana was legalized. 

“The Governor is sending a dangerous message of permissive drug use when parents, teachers,
medical professionals, and law enforcement are fighting against drug use.

“Legalizing the use of marijuana is not good for Wisconsin. If the use of marijuana really was
harmless, an affirming dope-using vote by the legislature wouldn’t be necessary.”  

Senate District 33 is up for election in 2022.

Telephone: (608) 266-9174 Email: Sen.Kapenga@legis.wisconsin.gov


  • Born Zeeland, Michigan, February 19, 1972; married; 2 children.
  • Graduate Holland Christian (Holland, Michigan), 1990. B.S. in Accountancy, Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan), 1994.
  • Business owner. Certified public accountant.
  • Member: Assembly of State Legislatures (copresident); NFIB; Elmbrook Church Financial Counseling (director).
  • Former member: WSCA School Board (vice chair, treasurer, secretary); WICPA; MMAC; Institute of Management Accountants (board member).
  • Elected to Assembly 2010–12. Elected to Senate in July 2015 special election. Reelected 2018.
83% Support for medical marijuana in Wisconsin
83% Support for medical marijuana in Wisconsin

Not sure which of the above represent you? Here is the link to find out who: https://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/

Use the two action alerts to express support of 2023-24 Adult Use Legalization Bill and the 2023-24 Decriminalization Bill.