- D.H. Reily
Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Wisconsin in 2022?
Those of us who are patiently waiting for the day we can get a Wisconsin Marijuana Card are like the fans of a sports team that’s a perennial loser: We’re always saying “Maybe next year!”
Well cannabis fans, it’s next year already! Is 2022 the year medical marijuana comes to the Badger State? Two (Count ‘em! Two!) medical marijuana bills have been introduced in the legislature already, so 2022 is off to a promising start. Is it likely to end the way we want it to, or at least set up a winning year in 2023?
Two Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Wisconsin Legislature
Two medical marijuana proposals, one from Republicans and one from Democrats, have been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature.
The Republican bill, introduced by Senator Mary Felzkowski of Tomahawk and Representative Patrick Snyder of Schofield, would create a Medical Marijuana Regulatory Commission under the state Department of Revenue.
The Democratic version, introduced by Senator Jon Erpenbach of West Point and Representative Dianne Hesselbein of Middleton, would put the Department of Health Services in charge of maintaining a registry of Wisconsin Marijuana Card holders. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection would oversee growers and dispensaries.
Many Wisonsonites Support Medical Marijuana
Felzowski said there is both support and opposition to medical marijuana coming from both sides of the aisle in the legislature. However, Wisconsinites are largely united in their support.
83% percent of Wisconsin voters have voiced support for medical marijuana, placing the state just a little behind the 91% of Americans who support it.
With numbers like those, it’s no wonder that thirty-seven states have legalized medical marijuana. And in a reflection of the bipartisan support Felzowski noted, even deep red states are jumping on the bandwagon. That’s a big deal for proponents of cannabis reform, because traditionally Republicans have been the most staunch opponents of any reform efforts.
So with support from the GOP, including their own proposal, support from Governor Tony Evers, and the approval of 83% of voters, what could possibly keep Wisconsin from passing a medical marijuana bill this year?
GOP Support in Red-State Wisconsin May Be Insufficient for Passage in 2022
Felzkowski introduced an identical bill in the last legislative session, only for then-Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to scuttle the bill. Her Republican colleagues removed provisions from Evers’ budget that would have legalized medical and recreational marijuana.
Fitzgerald’s successor, Devin LeMahieu, has been an opponent of legalization efforts in the past. When Felzlowski introduced her bill last year, he said that “I think that discussion needs to be done at the federal level and not have some rogue state doing it without actual science behind it.”
Felzowski has said that LeMahieu is “more than willing” to allow the bill a hearing, but even with his mildly increased openness to the issue, passage looks doubtful. Even the bills’ supporters in the legislature admit they don’t think either one will pass in 2022.
Medical Marijuana Supporters See Progress on the Issue
“I never thought I was going to live to see the day, but we’re actually talking realistically about marijuana reform," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley said at a meeting of the Wisconsin Counties Association.
“We’re not going to get it passed this year, don’t get me wrong,” Bewley added, “But we’re actually talking about it in very realistic and concrete terms. The fact that we’re there, we were not there and we haven’t been there for years, but for some reason there’s daylight. That’s what we have to capitalize on.”
Felzowski also think it’s a big deal that medical marijuana may actually be seriously discussed in the legislature, and hopes that the public will add their voices to the debate.
“It’s a matter of getting the conversation started,” Felzowski said during a roundtable discussion among lawmakers sponsored by Wisconsin Health News. “We need to start the conversation, let the public weigh in on it and come out with the best piece of legislation in the end.”
They’re Asking for It: Let Legislators Know How You Feel About Medical Marijuana
We know the wait is frustrating, but as Bewley said, we’re closer to medical marijuana in Wisconsin than we’ve ever been before.
The reason so much progress has been made on medical marijuana nationwide is not because of politicians but because of motivated citizens. Jill Swing, president and founder of South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance, a medical marijuana advocacy group, has given credit for the progress seen in conservative states “to grassroots advocacy, awareness, and to patients reaching out to their political representatives to ask for their support.”
So don’t give up now! Let your representatives know that you support medical marijuana and that you’re ready for the relief only cannabis can provide.
And let them know you’re tired of waiting until next year!
You Have to Wait for Relief, but You Don’t Have to Wait to Start Your Medical Marijuana Journey
You may have to wait for politicians to catch up with the times and get behind medical marijuana, but you can be ready for the day when they finally do.
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll schedule an appointment for you with one of our caring, knowledgeable doctors as soon as the state’s medical marijuana program is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your conditions, whether you qualify for a Wisconsin Marijuana Card, and what medical marijuana might be able to do for you, all without even leaving your home! And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!