As a longtime Wisconsin cannabis activist, I've felt the excitement of the potential of many a new legislative session and mourned the missed potential when lawmakers failed to act when the sessions drew to a close. And that is where Wisconsin is at now at the close of the 2017-2018 legislative session.
While few could have predicted GOP lawmakers' embrace of industrial hemp this session after so many previous bills died in committee, unanimous passage by both houses was the high spot of the session. A law making CBD oil possession legal with a doctor's letter was a small positive development, but that bill did nothing to address in-state distribution or production in Wisconsin.
But eight bills covering, medical cannabis, a medical cannabis advisory referendum, cannabis legalization, cannabis decriminalization and CBD production and prohibiting drug testing by employers all failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1, which is a resolution setting the session schedule for the 2017-2018 biennial session period adopted early in the session by the state senate.
Below are the bills that died in committee without a hearing or a single vote this session:
Proposal: AB75 (-0564) View Bill History SB38 (-1564) View Bill History relating to: medical use of marijuana, the regulation of marijuana distribution entities, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, making appropriations, and providing a criminal penalty.
Proposal: AJR7 (-1481) View Bill History SJR10 (-1565) View Bill History Relating to: an advisory referendum on legalization of medical marijuana. The advisory question would have placed the following question on general election ballots, " Medical Marijuana. Should the state of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?"
Proposal: AB158 (-2432) View Bill History SB104 (-2105) View Bill History relating to: production and possession of cannabidiol for treatment of a medical condition and providing a penalty.
Proposal: AB409 (-1507) View Bill History SB318 (-3629) View Bill History relating to: possession of not more than 10 grams of marijuana.
Proposal: AB482 (-2457) View Bill History relating to: marijuana possession, regulation of marijuana distribution and cultivation, medical marijuana, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, making appropriations, requiring the exercise of rule-making authority, and providing criminal penalties.
Proposal: AB1005 (-4042) View Bill History relating to: prohibiting employers from testing employees and prospective employees for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinols, synthetic cannabinoids, or controlled substance analogs of tetrahydrocannabinols or synthetic cannabinoids as a condition of employment.
While Wisconsin will not get to vote on a medical cannabis advisory referendum this November, Wisconsin voters need to look at this fall's elections, in which all 99 state representatives and half the state senate, along with Gov. Scott Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel and other state and federal elected representatives will face voters, as a referendum on cannabis law reform and vote out candidates who will not support it. The leading Democratic candidates vying to challenge Walker for Wisconsin governor all have endorsed cannabis legalization. The Spring election in which voters rejected Walker's chosen Supreme Court candidate and chose Rebecca Dallet for a ten-year term as Supreme Court justice along with rejection of a GOP sponsored referendum to abolish the state treasurer's office demonstrate that if properly motivated, voters can make significant positive changes in the direction of Wisconsin simply by mobilizing and voting for candidates who who understand that cannabis prohibition is nothing more than a counterproductive fraud and that continuing to mandate it is a road to nowhere. To effect change, please make voting in the August primary and November general election a priority for yourself, your family, friends and likeminded folks!