Senator Kathleen Bernier Senate District 23 (R - Chippewa Falls)
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Republican Kathleen Bernier hints towards support of recreational and adult use marijuana

For years now I have been working with both sides of the isle on marijuana reform. Some of our early meetings in 2009 and 2010 featured Republican elected officials as speakers. They are just as frustrated as we are that reform takes so long. We keep pushing on as Republicans push their caucus to do the right thing.

I make note of this report also because with NORML I work with people all over the state and have a field activist in this area that just will not quit. He might not be the most persistent constituent in the world, but pretty darn close! The medical community around the area is very supportive of medical cannabis. Berniers opponent is one of those in the medical community and instead of giving a political campaign answer like Bernier, he gives an answer.

Bernier is not uneducated on the issue, she is just an politician already. We can remind her that in 1973 Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana and that 46 years later simple marijuana possession in Wisconsin could result in a felony. Decriminalization is not a major change to our laws and she knows this and is probably just one reason why she was on the crew of bipartisan politicians that wrote Assembly Bill 409 / Senate Bill 318 known as a “Decriminalization of Marijuana” bill earlier in the Spring of 2017.

Because she is considering the potential tax revenue and social costs of legalization she must be comparing it to the loss of tax revenue by not legalizing, increased funding needs for marijuana law enforcement that public does not support and the social costs of prohibition. If that is what she means, we won this district because those numbers and considerations just lead us to legalization and regulation is the most common sense answer.

Would you support changing state law to legalize marijuana and/or cannabis products? If so, under what conditions? If not, why?

Senator Kathleen Bernier Senate District 23 (R - Chippewa Falls)
Senator Kathleen Bernier Senate District 23 (R – Chippewa Falls)

Bernier: Before making major changes to our state’s drug laws, we should first study the results of other states which have already made this change. Certainly tax revenue from marijuana sales sound promising but we must also determine the true social costs of legalization. I am looking very seriously at the benefits of the CBD oil for medicinal uses as research is showing it has promising potential without the typical side effects of marijuana.

Opposing Bernier will be Democrat Chris Kapsner. A political newcomer, Kapsner is an emergency room physician from Boyceville. He is a member of a group of doctors who provide emergency services to hospitals in western Wisconsin, Minneapolis and St. Paul. Kapsner, 55, has a wife and four children.

He is quoted as saying this when asked above question about marijuana:

Kapsner: Yes. I am supportive of a well-regulated medicinal marijuana program that provides access to treatment for patients suffering from severe, debilitating illnesses.


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