State NORML chapters planning March 1 Capitol Lobby Day

With only 28 days in February, Wisconsin NORML’s Capitol Lobby Day on Wed. March 1, 2017 is coming up fast! NORML’s Lobby Day will take place all day March 1, with representatives from NORML chapters from around the state at the Capitol from 10am-3pm to help attendees who would like more information. In some cases NORML may be able to be assist at meetings with legislators. All are welcome and encouraged. Madison NORML, SE WI NORML, Northern WI NORML, and Wisconsin NORML will all be participating.

Those planning to take part should consider scheduling an appointment with their legislators in advance. Find your legislator by entering your address in the address box here: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/

Current cannabis-related legislation includes Senate Bill 38/Assembly Bill 75: The Compassionate Cannabis Care Act, and Senate Joint Resolution 10/Assembly Joint Resolution 7, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Referendum, both sponsored by Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).

The referendum offers citizens a chance to weigh in on the process and that is what’s at the heart of it. A lawmaker does not have to support medical cannabis to support it, just the concept that citizens should have a voice in guiding what legislation is enacted. Medical cannabis has held supermajority support whenever pollsters ask Wisconsinites where they stand, and even legalizing adult use was favored by 59% in a July 2016 Marquette Law School Poll.

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

It is up to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to decide whether the Senate will get to vote on SJR10/AJR7. Fitzgerald chairs the Senate Committee on Senate Organization which schedules which bills reach the senate floor. The committee includes two other Republicans, Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and anti-cannabis zealot Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and two Democrats, Minority Leader Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Mason). If any of these are your senators ask them to please vote to schedule it.

CBD oil bill backers following 2 bills this session.

Another proposal, sponsored by Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg), LRB2105 would remove barriers to accessing CBD treatment by establishing a licensing program, administered by the Department of Safety and Professional Services, for individuals to produce and distribute CBD oil in Wisconsin. LRB2105 is awaiting a bill number.  GOP-sponsored bipartisan legislation (SB10 & AB49) that has already been passed by the senate  and is awaiting an assembly floor vote would only decriminalize possession of CBD oil with a doctor note, forcing families and patients to go to states where it is available legally. LRB2105 would allow in-state access and create jobs instead of money going to other states.

Two industrial hemp bills are also being introduced. Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) began circulating his 2017 hemp bill, LRB-0840/3, and the deadline was Feb. 23. Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) announced Feb. 23 in a press release that he is circulating a cosponsorship memo for industrial hemp legislation LRB-1117/1. with a March 10 deadline. Kremer’s bill includes provisions for state tribes to produce hemp.

To help increase the likelihood of success for these volunteer-led lobbying efforts, NORML has created a Citizen Lobby Guide. This comprehensive booklet will assist activists in planning and execution of a successful lobby day. It also provides organizational checklists and a legislative questionnaire so that marijuana activists, regardless of the state they’re located in, will be fully prepared to meet with state lawmakers to discuss meaningful marijuana law reforms and to most effectively communicate NORML’s message of ending the prohibition of marijuana on the local, state and federal level.

SE WI NORML Lobby Day Facebook Event Page

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