“Having a public hearing after session has already been gaveled-out is a cynical political ploy that gives people false hope about the prospects of this legislation.”
By Benjamin Yount, The Center Square
Next week’s hearing on a medical marijuana program for the state has already upset many of the Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol who’ve pushed for legal marijuana in the state for years.
The Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry on Monday scheduled a hearing for SB 1034, which would open a path for Wisconsin to treat marijuana as medicine. That hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, April 20.
“In one of the more bold acts of cynicism I’ve seen in awhile, WI Republicans have scheduled a hearing for their terrible, discriminatory medical cannabis bill—for 4/20 of all days,” Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said on Twitter on Monday.
The bill, which has no chance of passing this year, does the following:
-Excludes victims of the drug war from being employed in the cannabis industry
-Permits employment discrimination against legal users
-Allows people fired for using medical cannabis to be denied unemployment
— Senator Chris Larson (@SenChrisLarson) April 11, 2022
420 has been part of marijuana lore for years.
Larson is not alone in failing to find any humor in the scheduled hearing.
“Republicans are all talk and no action when it comes to legalization efforts in Wisconsin,” Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, said Monday.
Agard is perhaps one of the biggest supporters of legal marijuana in the state legislature. She’s been pushing for full legalization for years.
“For the second straight session, legislative Republicans have introduced a late session, politically motivated bill to try and fool the people of Wisconsin into thinking they are genuine about legalization,” Agard said. “Having a public hearing after session has already been gaveled-out is a cynical political ploy that gives people false hope about the prospects of this legislation.”
The people of Wisconsin are ready for cannabis reform. It is supported by the majority of the residents of our state, including a majority of Republicans.
— Senator Melissa Agard 🌻 (@SenatorAgard) April 11, 2022
Wisconsin lawmakers largely wrapped-up their spring session at the end of February. They are not expected to take any substantial action until after November’s election.
Republican Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Tomahawk, who will lead the hearing said what matters is that Wisconsin is taking its first step toward joining 37 other states in allowing sick people to use marijuana as medicine.
“Whether you think the bill goes too far, or not far enough, what’s important is that we all come together to have an open, honest and respectful discussion about moving this idea forward,” Felzkowski said Monday.
There are 18 states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational marijuana. Wisconsin’s neighbors Illinois and Michigan are on that list.