WI GOP, Dem Lawmakers Split on Path to Marijuana Legalization
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Yesterday, April 20, was an unofficial holiday for marijuana enthusiasts across the country, and here in Wisconsin, lawmakers marked the day by weighing the future of pot in the Badger State.
In a Senate committee hearing, legislators considered a Republican-authored bill which would legalize medical marijuana, with tight controls and regulation from state agencies and doctors.
Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, noted both Republican and Democrat-controlled states have passed similar bills.
"It's in complete red states, it's in complete blue states, it's in purple states; and I don't think that medical marijuana is a partisan issue," Felzkowski asserted. "This is about a drug, it's not an FDA-approved drug, but it's a drug under a doctor's care that can help people with debilitating diseases."
Democrats have criticized Felzkowski's bill for being too restrictive, as the measure does not allow folks to smoke marijuana and only permits medical pot for a limited range of illnesses, although Felzkowski countered the list is open to additions.
Democrats have tried and failed for years to pass recreational marijuana bills through the GOP-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers are not scheduled to reconvene and vote on any bills until next year.
The measure is opposed by the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society, and supported by the Business Education Fund and the Wisconsin Hemp Farmers and Manufacturers Association.
Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, said the bill is "half-baked" and doesn't go far enough.
"Senate Bill 1034 doesn't address our racial disparities," Agard contended. "And it doesn't provide a path for expungements and bars people who have been previously harmed by these controlled substances and the prohibition of cannabis from contributing to this important industry."
A recent Marquette Law School poll of Wisconsin voters found 61% of respondents support legalizing marijuana. And 51% of Republican respondents support full legalization, up 10% from 2019. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 37 states, four U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. permit medical cannabis.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …