Category Archives: Direct Legislation

Cannabadger 2017 Year In Review

2017 was Cannabadger’s most productive year so far, with 81 articles posted in addition to this post so far, thanks to a number of high profile cannabis bills. 2016 produced 61 posts by comparison. According to Google Analytics, Cannabadger had over a half million page visits and over 900,000 visitors in the last year as of this writing, both annual records.

2017 saw longtime efforts by cannabis advocates pay off with the passage and signing into law of Republican-sponsored bills legalizing possession of CBD in April and industrial hemp farming in November, both with broad bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, Democratic-sponsored cannabis-related bills have fallen into the familiar pattern of Republican committee chairs failing to schedule public hearings despite overwhelming public support of medical cannabis and majority support for legalizing cannabis for adult use. A bill that would decriminalize 10 grams or less of cannabis with a Republican assembly sponsor and a Democratic senate sponsor also has yet to secure a public hearing with just a few months remaining in the 2017-2018 session.

Monona May Bob Miller, on the big screen, cast the deciding vote for a reduction in pot penalties in Monona Monday March 20 at the city council meeting. (Cannabadger.com)

Efforts at the local level have stumbled due to strong resistance from local authorities, with the sole bright spot so far being the city of Monona. In early 2017, after a failed direct legislation campaign in 2016 by Madison NORML, the mayor joined 3 alders to break a 3-3 tie and pass an ordinance amendment removing fines for possession in one’s residence and in public, with public use still subject to a fine.

But officials in West Milwaukee refused to acknowledge sufficient signatures to trigger direct legislation. In Racine, the clerk disallowed enough signatures to cause a direct legislation effort by the Racine Greens and SE WI NORML to come up short. And in Oshkosh, city officials rejected petitions carrying enough approved signature to force direct legislation on the grounds the wording did not comply under Wisconsin Statute 9.20, governing local referendums. However, council members are drafting a couple ordinances with a reduced fine amount to be discussed in Jan. 2019.

In June, DAV Wisconsin passed a resolution supporting medical cannabis access for veterans at their annual meeting. In October Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor launched a statewide tour to promote 2 medical cannabis bills they authored, the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act and a resolution authorizing a statewide advisory referendum on medical cannabis for the Nov. 2018 ballot.

Text of proposed medical cannabis advisory referendum question. (Cannabadger.com)

Majority Republicans have not scheduled committee hearings on the medical bill, and are unlikely to approve the referendum as it would drive younger and more liberal-leaning voters to a critical mid-term election with Scott Walker hoping to secure a third term. The tour included stops in La Crosse, Wausau, Green Bay and West Allis, in the senate district held by Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield), continuing to refuse the bill a public hearing in her committee. Vukmir who has made a career out of opposing any softening of cannabis laws, is campaigning for the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Nov. 2018.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his security detail exit his first State of the State address in 2011. (cannabadger.com)

Speaking of Gov. Walker, Cannabadger’s timeline documenting his pronouncements about cannabis. “Updated: Timeline: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on marijuana,” saw a number of additions in 2017 bringing the number of statements, dating back to 2010, to a current total of 22.

Here are the top ten most popular posts from 2017:

#1: New Wisconsin law allows individuals to treat any medical condition with CBD

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill 10, relating to definition of tetrahydrocannabinols and the use of cannabidiol, into law in a ceremony in Burlington on Monday, April 17. With Walker’s signature, SB10 becomes 2017 Wisconsin Act 4. 2017 Wisconsin Act 4 allows for any individual to possess CBD to treat a medical condition with a letter from their physician.

#2: Wisconsin Senate Committee passes Industrial Hemp Bill in 9-0 vote

Bipartisan industrial hemp legislation Senate Bill 119 cleared the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism on a unanimous 9-0 vote Oct. 18.

#3: Wisconsin Assembly passes CBD bill 98-0 sends to Walker for signature

The Wisconsin Assembly today passed SB10/AB49 CBD oil legislation in a unanimous 98-0 vote . CBD or cannabidiol, is among 80 or some cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. CBD has been found to be useful in treating some medical conditions, particularly seizure disorders.

#4: History made as bipartisan Wisconsin pot decriminalization bill rolled out

History was made May 30 with a Capitol press conference announcing the introduction of bipartisan statewide decriminalization legislation. The bill, 2017 Assembly Bill 409, is sponsored by Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake), along with Reps. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison). The bill is Rep. Jarchow’s first time sponsoring a cannabis related bill and the first cannabis related bill sponsored by Sen. Risser in 38 years.

#5: Wisconsin Assembly passes hemp bill, sends to Gov. Walker

After passing the State Senate Tuesday Nov. 7 in a 33-0 vote and a Nov. 8 hearing in the Assembly Agriculture committee,  Wisconsin’s bipartisan hemp bill SB119/AB183 moved directly to a floor vote in the Assembly Nov. 9 where representatives passed the bill in a unanimous 92-0 vote.

#6: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs industrial hemp bill in Capitol ceremony

On Nov. 30, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today signed into law 2017 Senate Bill 119, regarding industrial hemp production, at a signing ceremony at the Capitol, making the state the 34th to allow farmers to grow hemp.. The bill’s signing followed unanimous votes in both houses the same week, the senate passing it Nov. 7 in a 33-0 vote and the Assembly following suit Nov. 9 in a 92-0 vote.

#7: Wisconsin pot decriminalization bill has support across political spectrum

Wisconsin’s historic new bipartisan cannabis decriminalization bill Senate Bill 318 includes a number of sponsors of cannabis law reform legislation not seen before the current legislative session. Not only is the lead Assembly sponsor a Republican, Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake), there are five other GOP cosponsors, Kathleen Bernier (R-Lake Hallie), Reps. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) and Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh). Jarchow and his five GOP colleagues are also sponsors of the bipartisan industrial hemp legislation AB183/SB119. An interesting note is that this is the first session Schraa’s Democratic minority leader colleague Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) has sponsored pot-related legislation, sponsoring the medical bill AB75 and SB318.

#8: Wisconsin Senate passes hemp bill, Assembly to vote Nov. 9

The Wisconsin Senate passed SB119, in a unanimous 33-0 vote moving the state one step closer to re-legalizing the cultivation of hemp, a crop last legally grown by state farmers in 1957. The  unanimous vote on the GOP-authored bipartisan-supported measure was not a surprise, with the bill having cleared the Senate Agriculture committee in a 9-0 vote Oct. 18.

#9: State says Wisconsin pot tax revenues could top $100 million by 2020

In a new fiscal estimate from the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue on Rep. Melissa Sargent’s cannabis legalization bill, AB 482, the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue predicts that if the legislation is enacted into law, both state and local governments will see large revenue increases. The state agency estimates total revenue impact from sales tax, excise tax and fee revenues will top $60.5 million in fiscal year 2019, $109.5 million in fiscal year 2020 and $138 million in fiscal year 2021. Local tax revenues would rise $1.4 million in fiscal year 2019, $2.3 million in fiscal year 2020 and $2.7 million in fiscal year 2021.

#10: Breaking: GOP Rep Jarchow will sponsor pot decrim bill

In January 2017, State Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) announced he was drafting a bipartisan statewide cannabis decriminalization bill on the “State Reppin” radio show on Riverwest Radio hosted by State Reps. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) and David Bowen (D-Milwaukee).

Below are the second ten most popular articles for 2017:

11- Wisconsin pot legalization bill previewed at Capitol press conference
12- Exclusive: Racine Greens launch direct legislation campaign for $1 pot fines
13- Wisconsin Democrats bill would put medical pot advisory referendum on ballot
14- Walker to sign CBD bill April 17
15- Wisconsin Senate passes CBD bill 31-1
16- 2017 Session Cannabis Related Bills in WI Legislature so far
17- Reactions to Sargent cannabis bill shows prohibition runs deep in state
18- Walker not interested in legalization says neither are most lawmakers
19- Oshkosh City Council gets pot petition tonight, city attorney says reject it
20- Wisconsin CBD bill on Feb 8 Senate calendar

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned in 2018!

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