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1. Do you support a legal, regulated, and taxed market for recreational cannabis, allowing Wisconsin residents over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to two ounces (or more) of cannabis from regulated dispensaries, as proposed by State Rep. Melissa Sargent’s (D-Madison) AB482?
If legislation, such as AB 482, made it through the Legislature I would sign it into law. We are fortunate to be able to benefit from the experience of other states and utilize best practices in crafting legislation to legalize cannabis.
2. Do you support allowing any Wisconsin resident over the age of 21 to grow up to 6 (or more) cannabis plants at home without a license, as proposed by AB482?
Yes. AB 482 is modeled after the laws of other states that already legalized recreational cannabis. It appears 6 plants is the standard.
3. Do you support allowing patients suffering from various ailments to purchase and use cannabis as treatment for their ailments if they have a doctor’s recommendation?
Yes. Scientific research demonstrates the therapeutic benefit of cannabis in treatment of several conditions. Additionally, we are beginning to see evidence of decreased prescription opioid use and abuse in states where cannabis is legal.
4. Do you agree with the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis outlined in Section 42 of AB482 (listed below)?
(2) “Debilitating medical condition or treatment" means any of the following: (a) Cancer; glaucoma; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; a positive test for the presence of HIV, antigen or nonantigenic products of HIV, or an antibody to HIV; Crohn's disease; a hepatitis C virus infection; Alzheimer's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; nail patella syndrome; Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome; post-traumatic stress disorder; or the treatment of these conditions. (b) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment of such a disease or condition that causes cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. (c) Any other medical condition or any other treatment for a medical condition designated as a debilitating medical condition or treatment in rules promulgated by the department of health services under s. 50.81 (2).
Yes, this list is broad enough to cover most conditions for which cannabis is a viable option of treatment and any future therapeutic uses discovered by research.
5. Answer this question only if you support both recreational and medicinal uses of cannabis. Do you support allowing medical cannabis patients to possess more cannabis than recreational users and to be exempt from the taxes that are imposed on recreational users?
Yes. Patients, in consultation with their physician, should be allowed to possess the amount of medical cannabis deemed appropriate for treatment of their condition. In most cases, states that legalized cannabis for medical purposes have exempted patients from taxes. These states established a system to identify medical cannabis patients, including identification cards and patient registry. Again, we can benefit from the experience of other states and utilize best practices.
6. Do you support a permitting system that would enable publicly-accessible establishments to allow legal possessors of cannabis to smoke it in outdoor areas at their establishments? This would address an issue present in other states’ implementations, where many people are legally allowed to purchase and possess cannabis, but have no place to legally consume it.
I understand that state’s where cannabis is already legal are considering the option of creating rules to establish licensed lounges or social clubs where people, over age 21, can consume cannabis. Some states are looking at state regulation while others are allowing local units of government to determine through referendum where people would be allow to consume cannabis. In Wisconsin, we will have to consider how smoking or vaping cannabis fits with our statewide smoking ban. This is an issue that would be well served by convening a panel of stakeholders to craft a path forward.
7. Do you support conviction expungement or pardons for anyone convicted of possession, growing, and/or selling cannabis in Wisconsin?
I am open to the idea but I would like to benefit from the experience of other states. Wisconsin has a system to pardon individuals. We could go through our current process and consider each case or, like Seattle, offer a blanket pardon.
8. Do you support or would you consider any other cannabis regulatory or legalization scheme for Wisconsin
It is important that we consider the best practices of states that already legalized cannabis. The wealth of experience from other states can help inform how Wisconsin moves forward with legalization, regulation and taxation.
9. Do you believe that possession of limited amounts of cannabis by a person in his or her own home or in another’s home with the owner’s permission should be legal in the State of Wisconsin?
Yes. If Wisconsin legalizes possession of cannabis, it only makes sense that a person can possess the legal amount in their home or in another private place with permission.
10. What level of taxes do you think should be imposed on recreational cannabis?
I know that the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington are developing their own unique process of licensing, regulating and tax collection related to marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries. I would look at how these states established the process and level of taxation and utilize that knowledge in establishing Wisconsin’s tax rate and collection system.
11. How do you think that tax revenue should be used?
There are many pressing needs in our state for which the additional revenue generated by taxing cannabis production and retail sales. Part of the revenue generated by cannabis could be targeted to TAD, treatment alternatives and diversion. Wisconsin incarcerates so many more people than our neighboring states. Research clearly demonstrates that a focus on treatment assistance helps people get their lives back on track and reduces our jail and prison populations.
12. Why is cannabis law reform an important issue to you?
The time is long overdue for Wisconsin to act compassionately and legalize cannabis for medical reasons. The medical efficacy of cannabis in treatment of devastating diseases cannot be ignored.
As states move forward with legalization of cannabis, we are reminded that the federal government still considers cannabis a Schedule I Drug. It is important that we have this discussion on a federal level. I know officials in states that legalized recreational use of cannabis worry the feds may take action to preempt state measures.