Analysis 2024 GOP medical cannabis bill
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Analysis 2024 GOP medical cannabis bill

Who authored and co-sponsored the Republican 2024 medical cannabis bill in Wisconsin here at the end of the 2024 legislative session? What Committee will receive the bill and what are the chances of this thing passing the Assembly?

Who Authored The Bill

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Rep. Robin Vos (R)

Assembly Bill 1040 was submitted very late at the end of the 2024 session. This effort is controlled by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and has been conducted behind closed doors within the GOP Caucus, without public involvement, and purposely excluding the Democrats. It appears that Rep. Vos also left out the Republican Senators in his quest for PR spin on the topic. It also appears that Robin Vos is not open to any amendments on his bill.

The original Republican authors of the bill circulated their co-sponsorship memo on January 8th, 2024. Rep. Patrick Snyder, Rep. Jon Plumer, Rep. John Macco, Rep. Clint Moses, Rep. Donna Rozar, Rep. Michael Schraa, Rep. Shae Sortwell, and Rep. Robin Vos. Aside from Vos and Moses, all of these representatives have authored similar legislation in the past.

It does not appear that any Republican Senator has taken the bill on, and it is highly unlikely that the bill will see the required companion bill in the Senate. No Democrat has signed onto the bill, nor have any Democrats even indicated support for the bill.

The Assembly held choreographed press conferences throughout the state which had many other Republicans standing silently proud behind the authors of the bill. Many of the authors colleagues that were present at these press conferences had remained steadfast against any cannabis reform. Was that all just PR spin by Robin Vos? We reached out to a few of those representatives and they indicated they were unsure if they would co-sponsor this bill or vote yes should the bill come to a vote.

So is the support within the GOP alone there?

Prior to this bill being released, the Wisconsin Cannabis Activist Network published a WIP (work in progress) report about the 64 Republican Assembly Representatives for the 2023-34 session. Although we had a few unknown and uncommitted GOP reps, it did not seem that at the start of the session Vos had enough support within his caucus to pass anything. Has that really changed?

The Republican Co-sponsors

Eighteen (18) total Republican authored/co-sponsored a similar bill from the Republican Assembly in the 2021-22 session and we ended up with nineteen (19) total this session.

Reps. Born, Hurd, Kitchens, Kurtz, Melotik, O’Connor, Rodriguez, Sapik, Schmidt, Spiros and Summerfield all were added on as co-sponsors.

Rep. Born was co-sponsor during the 2019-20 session, absent from the 2021-22 session but is back again for the 2024 bill. Rep. Kitchens, Spiros and Summerfield have all signed on in the past. Kitchens was one of the first Republicans to support medical cannabis and has co-sponsored the Democrats version in the past.

This is the first time incumbent Rep. Kurtz has signed onto a bill as well as Rep. Jessie Rodriguez.

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Rep. Angie Sapik (R)

Newly elected in 2022, we had eyes on Rep. Angie Sapik and Rep. Karen Hurd to do something and this is what they did, cosponsored the Vos bill.

Also newly elected in 2022, Rep. Jerry O’connor said during his Republican Primary that “This is not a cause I am supporting“ but still ends up as a co-sponsor of this controversial legislation. Everyone really had high hopes these two women would bring some common sense and science to the issue within the GOP.

Rep. Paul Melotik took the vacant Rep. Knodl seat during the special election. During the campaign, Melotik seemed opposed to reform measures and didn’t really want to talk about it. As surprising as the “Knodl always supporting medical cannabis since he was elected” statement was, many were surprised to see Melotik as a co-sponsor.

Rep. Peter Schmidt was pretty silent during the heated primary battle, as were the other two GOP candidates supported total legalization. It was reported that Schmidt did not support adult use, but would be there for medical, and he does show up to the GOP bill as a co-sponsor.

WE KNOW

Although the Republican bill is not be perfect, you will have a chance to add input to the bill when a public hearing is scheduled, during the upcoming campaign season and next legislative session.

Or you can take action today by using our Action Network Alert and send a prewritten letter to your elected officials letting them know you care and that this version of the medical marijuana legislation needs amending!

Committee Analysis

It is going to be a close vote in the committee to get this bill to a final floor vote where the vote could be even closer!

Assembly Committee on Health, Aging and Long-Term Care

Members:
Representative Moses (Chair) (R) – Author

Representative Rozar (Vice-Chair) (R) – Author

Representative Brooks (R) – YES

Representative Dittrich (R) – NO

Representative Gundrum (R) – NO

Representative Magnafici (R) – MAYBE

Representative Murphy (R) – YES

Representative Sapik (R) – Co-Sponsor

Representative Schutt (R) – YES

Representative Summerfield (R) – Co-sponsor

Representative VanderMeer (R) – MAYBE

Representative Subeck (D)

Representative Riemer (D)

Representative J. Anderson (D)

Representative Vining (D)

Representative Drake (D)

Perhaps instead of competing medical marijuana bills or trying to pass a bill within the GOP Caucus alone, these people listed should officially form The Wisconsin Cannabis Caucus and work on one bill together! The official establishment of this Caucus would represent the growing, bipartisan support in our Senate and Assembly for marijuana reform and could move along legislation much more effectively and efficiently, ensuring success for all of Wisconsinites.