Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says medical marijuana still on table, equates decrim as legalization

Appearing on WISN’s UpFront on Sunday, March 10, 2019, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he supported medical cannabis and that “We are going to potentially see something hopefully later in the year.” Responding further he agreed when asked if he still wants medical marijuana if it’s not in the budget, saying that for five years he’s “talked about it about it a very limited way to do it Vos’ then goes on the to equate Gov. Evers’ proposal for statewide decriminalization as legalization, when in fact, it is a very old concept first recommended in a report by the Shafer Commission in 1972. The Shafer Commission, formally known as the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, was appointed by Republican President Richard M. Nixon, who was certainly no fan of pot use. The Wisconsin legislature has taken up decriminalization legislation in the 1970s, 1980s, 2000s and as recently as the last two sessions, but it has not even gotten a public hearing in decades.

Watch the clip and read the transcript below:

TRANSCRIPT: 03-10-2019-Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks Marijuana on UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen

Speaker Vos:But when he came out in favor of legalization of marijuana that’s one of the times when I said No way. That is not something the majority of the state has as its goal and its priority. Perhaps as you know I support medical marijuana. There are things that we can work together on. But Governor Evers has chosen kind of this one sided.”

Adrienne Pedersen: “You talked about marijuana. So when it comes to marijuana you’ve said you support medical marijuana in the past. What about just putting in this budget medical marijuana and not including his decriminalizing small amounts for recreational use.”

Speaker Vos: “Well first of all it’s the kind of topic that I really don’t think belongs in the state budget for eight years we have heard Democrats criticize us for putting major policy items inside the budget if you remember under Governor Walker we took out all of his policy things even though we were on the same team. So we certainly don’t think that budgets should be chockfull of public policy. They should go through a traditional process have a committee hearing let the public testify. So even though I do support medical marijuana I do not want that inside the state budget should be a standalone bill. We are going to potentially see something hopefully later in the year we’ll be able to talk about that. But it’s not in the context of an 83 billion dollar spending program we should be focusing on how do we raise the revenues and where is the appropriate place to spend them.”

Adrienne Pedersen: “So you’re saying even if this doesn’t go through in the budget you still want medical marijuana on the table.”

Speaker Vos:Yeah I have always supported it for the last five years I’ve talked about it a very limited way to do it. What I worry about is that Governor even his failure to even communicate with somebody like me who is a supporter of the same idea that he has by going so much broader to try to decriminalize marijuana. I worry that for a lot of skeptics he is really poisoned the well and even something so simple as doing medical marijuana. So only time will tell.”

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