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The Republican push to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin under some of the nation’s toughest restrictions won’t pass the state Senate, according to one of the state’s leading Republican cannabis advocates.
That means legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin will likely have to wait until next year, state Sen. Mary Felzkowski told CBS-58.
With no medical or adult-use cannabis, Wisconsin remains an exception in the Upper Midwest.
Minnesota legalized adult-use marijuana last year.
Adult-use sales launched in Illinois in 2020.
Though Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, says he wants to sign adult-use legalization into law, he’ll settle for medical marijuana – if the Republicans who control both houses of the legislature can pass a bill.
Earlier this year, Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos unveiled a very limited medical marijuana legalization proposal.
With sales allowed at only five state-run dispensaries, Vos’s plan presented minimal business opportunities.
And since Vos refuses to compromise, his plan is also politically untenable, said Felzkowski, a leading Republican advocate for medical cannabis legalization in the Senate.
Felzkowski has introduced more permissive bills in the past that the Assembly has blocked.
As written, Vos’s bill may likely pass the Assembly, but it will fail in the Senate, where lawmakers are uncomfortable with limiting sales to state-run dispensaries, Felzkowski predicted.
“I don’t see anything happening [with the bill] this session,” Felzkowski said, as per CBS-58.
Another more practical compromise bill might be introduced next session, the senator added.
“I’m hoping that over the summer we can talk with our Assembly colleagues and hopefully come up with something that’s a compromise and then truly get this done once and for all for Wisconsin,” she said.
Vos’s plan also outlaws smokeable cannabis flower, limiting products to extracts and edibles.
Access would be limited to patients who suffer from specific medical conditions.
Such plans have been tried in other states with success in the past.
But lately, with cannabis more widely available, it’s less clear if strict rules are workable.
In Ohio, medical cannabis sales appear to have plateaued, in part because state residents are willing to travel to nearby Michigan to buy legal adult-use cannabis.