Two Wisconsin state lawmakers on Dec. 11 introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate cannabis use for medical purposes, colloquially known as “medical marijuana.”
The bill, proposed by two Republican legislators, is one of multiple attempts by Wisconsin lawmakers this year to join the 33 states1 that have legalized medical marijuana. For instance, in September 2019, three Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bi-partisan bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Governor Tony Evers also attempted to legalize medical marijuana though the state budget. Thus far, all legalization attempts have failed because of a lack of support from the Republican majority in Madison.
The increase in proposed medical marijuana legislation reflects the substantial public support for legalizing medical marijuana. More than half of Wisconsin’s population during the November 2018 elections voted in nonbinding referendums across the five most populous counties to approve of either medical or recreational marijuana or both, according to results posted by the Wisconsin State Journal.
A few months later, support had not waned. In April 2019, a Marquette University poll found that 83% of registered voters in Wisconsin support “the use of marijuana for medical purposes with doctor’s prescription.” The majority of those polled also supported the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Like its predecessors, the recent medical marijuana bill is unlikely to succeed. Wisconsin Republication leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, has publicly opposed the bill. And while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has suggested he may be open to a more limited medical marijuana regulatory scheme, Speaker Vos also indicated the Republican-sponsored bill likely will not pass.
1 This does not include the states—including Wisconsin—that have legalized low tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH)/high cannabidiol (CBD) products.
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