According to Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, Republicans in the state Senate are “near” to backing the legalization of marijuana for medical use in Wisconsin. LeMahieu, who had previously opposed the proposal, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he thought the state could approve legislation to establish a medicinal Marijuana program this legislative session, provided that rules are proposed to assure that it is only for people who are in extreme pain.
LeMahieu, a Republican from Oostburg, remarked, “Our caucus is getting quite close on medical marijuana.” Many of our members, who may now be in a position to vote on it, just want to ensure that it is properly controlled. “We don’t want folks to come in and acquire medical marijuana because their back hurts. Cancer pain must be prescribed, you understand.”
The remarks made by LeMahieu are the first time a senatorial Republican leader has endorsed the notion. In the past, caucus opposition has been a major barrier to ideas. While former Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who now represents the 5th Congressional District, and LeMahieu had previously expressed strong opposition to the notion, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has recently shown support for legalizing medicinal marijuana.
LeMahieu declared in 2021 that he would oppose the legalization of marijuana for medical use unless it had a prescription drug designation from the Food and Drug Administration. Vos’s spokesperson would not immediately confirm whether Assembly Republicans are also on board. According to LeMahieu, they “might be.”
Democrats have long advocated for the legalization of Marijuana for both medical and recreational use in Wisconsin. In the upcoming state budget, which lawmakers and the Democratic governor Tony Evers will shortly start discussing and writing, Evers plans to once again recommend legalizing marijuana.
According to estimates, the plan, which would require consumers to be 21 to purchase, would bring in $166 million in income, which Evers intends to use to support school funding. Melissa Agard, the Senate Minority Leader and a Democrat from Madison who has repeatedly and unsuccessfully called for the legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin, said on Thursday that she is eager to learn more about any prospective Senate Republican support.
Choosing “winners and losers” in terms of what kinds of pain would qualify someone for a prescription, according to Agard, is not something she agrees with. “I’ll always fight for Wisconsin’s full legalization of marijuana. I am aware that is what the majority of residents of our state desire, and we are also aware that the most hazardous aspect of cannabis is that it is still legal “said Agard.
According to a survey conducted by the Marquette University Law School in October, 64 percent of Wisconsin residents are in favor of legalizing marijuana for any purpose. A 2019 poll found that more than 80% of Wisconsin residents agreed with the concept of a medicinal marijuana program.
Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that have not decriminalized marijuana usage in any way. There are medical marijuana programs in 36 states, including those that border Wisconsin. Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, has stated that he anticipates marijuana to be legal in his state by the end of May.
Through advisory referendum questions on their ballots that year, voters in 16 counties and two cities expressed their support for the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use. The referendums sought opinions on whether to legalize personal use for adults who are at least 21 years old.
The Journal Sentinel reported on Wednesday that Republican state senator Mary Felzkowski intended to reintroduce legislation that would establish a state-run medical marijuana program that would only allow the use of cannabis in the form of a liquid, oil, pill, topical cream, or tincture.
Republican Irma resident Felzkowski testified at a hearing on the measure in April that she became interested in the cause to establish a medicinal Marijuana program in 2014 after undergoing treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer. According to her, the cancer-curing medications she was given caused severe pain that she could only legally manage with highly addictive opiates.
We are currently having those discussions; although I can’t guarantee anything, Felzkowski said that the bill would be reintroduced. The Wisconsin Medical Society, a statewide organization that represents physicians, rejected the bill on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence linking marijuana use to the worsening of specific illnesses.
In an April memo to Felzkowski, the organization’s chief policy and advocacy officer Mark Grapentine stated, “Until science can determine which elements in grown marijuana are potentially therapeutic and which are potentially harmful, any medical marijuana program is at best a pale imitation of true medical therapies developed through scientific research.”