Top GOP Wisconsin Lawmaker Promising Marijuana Legalization

Matt Benoit /

As marijuana legalization becomes less of a polarizing issue, even the older GOP representatives and supporters are starting to come around to the idea of legalization. The biggest debates are choosing the degree of legalization (medical, recreational, or both), what potency limits need to be put in place, what points in the process should be taxed, how much to tax it, and where can the dispensaries be setup. The funny thing is these questions are answered rather easily.

In Wisconsin, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R) did an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio about this very idea. While on the show, he discussed the bipartisan support the idea of decriminalizing cannabis is now receiving. “It’s an interesting question. Obviously, other states throughout the country are moving in that direction. I think that’s likely the direction at some point, with the state of Wisconsin, goes… real issue is really the ability of the legislature to craft a medicinal marijuana bill in a way that doesn’t open up the door wide to recreational marijuana.”

Many other states started off with medical-only and discovered how easy it was for people to get a medical card for diseases that greatly benefit from the use of cannabis but are difficult to prove one way or another. This paved the way for states like California and Colorado to allow for recreational marijuana use.

This program comes at a higher taxation rate, but it eliminates the necessity to get a card or be entered into the state/federal database for cannabis use. For many, this clear path to use without records was a great thing. The guy on vacation could pick up a pre-rolled joint, turn on some Pink Floyd, and remember being 15 on the train tracks with his buddies. The woman who worried about her job finding out but needed relief from menstrual cramps could get relief.

To those who oppose the use of cannabis, this was the loophole they never wanted to see opened. They wanted to know who all the dopers were. In their eyes, this was the turning point for people to become addicted to harder things, and it was a tool the devil put on the planet to corrupt good kids. Never mind the wine abuse and Xanax dependency many of the people who have been against cannabis suffer from. In their eyes, the doctors know what’s best, but only if it comes from big pharma.

Current polls show 61 percent of Wisconsin residents support legalization, and 31 percent oppose any policy change. Most interestingly are the jump of Republican support to 51 percent in the survey. This is an 8 percent increase since the University of Wisconsin started interviewing people about this back in 2013.

By contrast, the GOP-controlled legislature refuses to hear anything on the measure despite strong bipartisan support and multiple bills on the table. Their block of reform has been in stark contrast to both the Democratic governor and GOP lawmakers. However, a turn might be on the horizon.

Recently, over a dozen Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin banded together to file a bill for the legalization of medical marijuana. While this is just a start, it is an important one for the state. This bill is also very restrictive. It allows for no smokable marijuana products and prevents patients from growing their own marijuana for their personal use.

It does allow for the purchase of oils, pills, tinctures, or topical cannabis applications. For many, these kinds of cannabis uses don’t provide the level of relief they need. While there are very potent pills, many look to avoid these as they go completely against the idea of using cannabis for medication by taking the natural element out of the medication. Losing this selling point of cannabis could potentially turn many lawmakers against this bill.

So, stay tuned to see whether Wisconsin will get its cannabis highs legalized or not…