GOP Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Two Republican state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana, saying it’s time for Wisconsin to join the majority of the country in giving patients the option.

But already, the state Senate’s top Republican said he doesn’t support the bill and leaders in both houses of the Legislature downplayed its chances of passing.

The proposal by state Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, and state Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls could still add momentum to a cause that has mostly been championed in Wisconsin by Democrats, including Gov. Tony Evers. Their bill would regulate the “cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing” of medical marijuana in Wisconsin, which could be prescribed by doctors, physicians assistants and certified advanced practice nurses.

“There is no doubt that each and every one of us knows someone that has suffered through an illness and struggled to find a way to make it through each day,” said the lawmakers in a statement. “It is clear that we as a state need to begin having a real discussion about medical marijuana legalization.”

But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who has opposed other efforts to legalize medical marijuana, did so again Wednesday.

“I personally oppose this bill and I don’t believe there are the votes in our caucus to pass it,” Fitzgerald said in a brief written statement.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has been more open to supporting medical marijuana, but he also suggested this bill would not pass.

“As someone who supports a limited form of medical marijuana, I appreciate the efforts by Rep. Felzkowski to move the issue forward,” Vos said. “However, it’s clear that our caucus hasn’t reached a consensus.”