Top GOP Wisconsin Lawmaker Says Medical Cannabis Bill Will Be Unveiled This Summer Amid Skepticism From Democrats
Wisconsin lawmakers could unveil a medical cannabis bill as early as this summer, according to a top Republican legislator on Thursday. State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that he’s been working on a legalization proposal with members of both parties in the state legislature, but skeptics suggest that it faces a difficult path to passage under the Republican-controlled legislature.
What the GOP Wisconsin Lawmaker Said:
Speaking at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Thursday, Vos stated: “The timing of this bill will likely be this summer. It’s long past time that we address this issue. Our neighbors have already taken action. Let’s lead and do the same thing in our state.”
Medical cannabis remains illegal in Wisconsin, but a majority of its residents support legalization. The neighboring states of Michigan and Illinois, as well as Canada, have already legalized some form of marijuana use; it’s past time for Wisconsin to follow suit, many experts argue.
What Skeptics Say:
The bill will face skepticism from Democrats in the state, however. State Rep. Chris Taylor expressed concern over the fact that the proposal won’t completely decriminalize marijuana. She said: “It is disappointing that this bill may largely be limited to medical marijuana. This pales in comparison to the legalization that is happening across the country.”
Furthermore, Vos serves as leader of a Republican-controlled assembly that has shown little inclination toward supporting pro-cannabis initiatives thus far. Gov. Tony Evers has attempted to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in his latest budget proposals, which include ways to regulate and tax marijuana sales. But many Republicans in the state have been resistant to any pro-cannabis conversations–until now, apparently.
What Happens Next:
The bill will still need approval from Gov. Tony Evers, who has pushed for full legalization of marijuana. But if the bill passes through the Republican-controlled assembly, it could pave the way for other cannabis-related legislation in the state in the future. Advocates of legalization hope that the bill will help improve access to medical cannabis for residents of Wisconsin who suffer from debilitating medical conditions for which marijuana can provide relief.
With Vos’s announcement on Thursday, it’s clear that there are leaders on both sides of the aisle in Wisconsin who believe that the time for change is long overdue. Whether that change will be enough to sway Republicans to pass a cannabis bill this summer remains to be seen.