There are dueling legislative proposals to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin — one from each party. But with disagreement over whether and how Wisconsin could do so, the way forward is unclear, even though more than half of US states already allow it.
Under a bill introduced Monday by Democrats, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services would establish a medical cannabis registry accessible with doctor’s permission to people with debilitating illnesses, including cancer and AIDS. .
There would also be a licensing system for growers, producers, and vendors under the State Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection. Under the proposal, by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point, and Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, a licensed producer would only be allowed to distribute to licensed processors and would be prohibited from growing medical cannabis at personal, family or household use.
Another bill introduced by Republicans would create a Medical Marijuana Regulatory Commission under the state Department of Revenue. The bill was introduced last month by Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Tomahawk, and Rep. Patrick Snyder, R-Schofield. Qualified primary care providers would have the ability to provide marijuana recommendations to their patients in liquid, oil, pill, tincture, or topical form.
Felzkowski said smoking was not included because some Assembly members were concerned last session about second-hand smoke for children and others. The goal now, she said, is to start discussing the issue. This is the second time that Felzkowski has sponsored medical marijuana legislation. She advocated for a similar bill in 2019.
“It’s about getting the conversation started. People on both sides of the aisle are in favor, people on both sides of the aisle are against,” Felzkowski said during a roundtable with other lawmakers. hosted by Wisconsin Health News on Tuesday. .
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers both support the legalization of medical marijuana. Felzkowski said Tuesday she hopes for a hearing on her bill in the Senate, where she faces long odds. Sen. Devin Lemehieu’s Majority Leader, R-Oostburg, argued that states shouldn’t legalize medical marijuana before the federal government.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37 states allow the medical use of cannabis products, with Mississippi being the most recent.