Wisconsin is rapidly becoming an island of backwards marijuana laws.
Minnesota and Illinois have both decriminalized marijuana and legalized medical cannabis. Meanwhile, in November, Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for adults.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) has a bold vision to improve Wisconsin's marijuana laws. His budget, which will be released in late February, will propose decriminalization and expungement, along with a comprehensive medical cannabis program.
But Gov. Evers can't fix Wisconsin's outdated marijuana laws on his own. His proposal would have to pass the legislature, where Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) is opposed. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has said he is "open to medical marijuana when it is prescribed by a doctor," but that Evers' proposal goes too far.
Then, share this message with friends and family so that they, too, can speak up for commonsense cannabis policies.
This coming Tuesday, February 12, please join Minnesota Political Director Jason Tarasek, Rep. Mike Freiberg, Sen. Michell Benson, and Ken Winters for a forum on marijuana policy, which follows a discussion on tax reform. The forum is hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.
What: A forum on tax legislation and marijuana legalization, hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.
When: Tuesday, February 12, tax discussion begins at 6:30 p.m., marijuana discussion begins around 7:45 p.m.
Where: Mitchell Hamline School of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
The event will also be streamed online here: https://mitchellhamline.zoom.us/j/725771811?status=success
Rep. Freiberg recently introduced legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana in Minnesota. The companion bill in the Minnesota Senate is authored by Sen. Melisa Franzen and Sen. Scott Jensen, a Republican who is also a physician. Although Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) supports legalization and House leadership (DFL) is very open to it, the Senate leader, Paul Gazelka (R), is opposed. It is far from certain that the legislation will pass this year, but it's crucial lawmakers hear that this is an issue voters care about.
We hope to see you on Tuesday! Please spread the word so others can join us!
Exciting news! Yesterday, Senators Melisa Franzen (DFL) and Scott Jensen (R) and Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL) introduced bills to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults who are 21 years or older.
Although the DFL-controlled House and DFL governor are the most receptive they've ever been to ending cannabis prohibition, significant challenges remain. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R) has said the bill has no chance in his chamber. But don't despair: Major change typically takes time.
It's crucial that lawmakers hear from supportive constituents so we can build support for passage, whether it happens this year, next, or in 2021 — after the next state Senate election. If this is a voting issue for you, you can let your legislators know you won't be supporting them if they stand in the way of humane marijuana policy.
Prohibition sends an incredible number of people through the criminal justice system, and the collateral consequences can have life-altering effects. . By legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana with measures to expunge records, the number of marijuana-related arrests will be reduced, and those harmed by prohibition in the past can move on with their lives. It will also free up resources so police can focus on more serious crimes.
It is important your lawmakers hear from as many constituents as possible. Please contact your lawmakers today. Then, forward this message to your family and friends in the state. Together, we can end prohibition in Minnesota!
P.S. Please be sure to check out Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation ("MRMR") a new organization MPP helped launch.
Yesterday, newly elected and returning lawmakers convened for the first day of Wisconsin's new legislative session. Since the legislature adjourned last year, voters in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri enacted medical cannabis laws, bringing the number of medical cannabis states to 32.
And, on Election Day, more than a million Wisconsinites cast non-binding votes in support of medical marijuana or adult-use programs. In all 11 counties and two cities — both red and blue — where it was on the ballot, medical cannabis measures passed overwhelmingly. Support ranged from 67% to 89%.
Despite that massive show of support, Wisconsin patients either needlessly suffer or risk arrest to find relief from cannabis. Let your lawmakers know you want them to change that this year.
Wisconsin's new governor, Tony Evers (D), supports medical cannabis, but he can only sign a bill if one makes it to his desk. Wisconsin doesn't have a binding, statewide ballot initiative process. As was the case in Illinois and Minnesota, the only way to enact a medical cannabis law in the state is through the legislature.
So please, send a quick note to your elected officials, and share this message with other compassionate Wisconsinites.
With the dawn of a new legislative session — and a newly elected governor who supports marijuana legalization — there is renewed hope that the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes may have a path to legalizing and regulating marijuana.
MPP is thrilled to announce we’re bringing on attorney Jason Tarasek as our Minnesota political director. Jason is lobbying lawmakers and working with allies to build a strong coalition to legalize adult-use cannabis. If you’re a member of an organization that might consider supporting legalization, let Jason know.
We’re also looking to engage community leaders who support regulating marijuana — such as local officials, members of the clergy, law enforcement, civil rights leaders, educators, and medical professionals. If you are one of those individuals, or if you know one who is up for supporting the effort, please reach out, too.
And we can’t forget the importance of grassroots pressure. It’s crucial that lawmakers hear that their constituents want them to end the disastrous war on marijuana. You can use our free, automated system to send an email to your newly elected legislators.
Finally, please consider contributing to our Minnesota effort to end cannabis prohibition and sharing this message with friends and family so that they, too, can get involved in this campaign for humane marijuana policies.
Yesterday, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding Alzheimer’s disease as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, but rejected opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.
Many thanks to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program! Their dedicated work (with an assist from MPP) also resulted in the addition of intractable pain, PTSD, autism, and sleep apnea.
Under state law, Alzheimer’s disease patients will be able to apply for medical cannabis starting next summer.
The Minnesota Campaign for Full Legalization (MCFL) has put together a state legislative voter guide with results of their candidate survey and incumbents voting records. (Note that an F grade may not mean the candidate is opposed; they may simply not have responded to the survey.)
Here are a handful of competitive races where candidates differ on marijuana prohibition:
• House District 3A (International Falls): Incumbent Rob Ecklund (DFL) is supportive of legalizing and regulating cannabis and also cosponsored marijuana legalization/regulation bills, HF 926 and HF 4541. Challenger Randy Goutermont (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey.
• House District 11A (Moose Lake, Barnum, Scanlon): Mike Sundin (DFL) cosponsored bills to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults’ use, HF 926 and HF 4541. Challenger Jeff Dotseth (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey.
• House District 19A (North Mankato): Jeff Brand (DFL) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Kim Spears (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey. There is no incumbent in the district.
• House District 37A (Spring Lake Park): Incumbent Erin Koegel (DFL) expressed support for legalizing and regulating marijuana and also cosponsored a marijuana legalization and regulation bill, HF 2714. Challenger Anthony Wilder (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey.
• House District 56A (Savage): Challenger Hunter Cantrell (DFL) supports legalizing and regulating marijuana, while incumbent Drew Christensen (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey.
• House District 57B (Rosemount): Challenger John Huot (DFL) supports legalizing and regulating marijuana, while incumbent Anna Wills (R) did not respond to MCFL’s survey.
Meanwhile, in the gubernatorial race, Tim Walz (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Jeff Johnson (D) opposes legalization but supports medical marijuana.
Please check out MCFL’s voter guide, forward this to your network in Minnesota, and be sure to get out and vote!
Please consider voicing your support for expanding Minnesota’s medical marijuana program!
On Wednesday, a medical marijuana review panel will meet to discuss the petitions to add opioid use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder, and psoriasis as qualifying conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program.
What: Public meeting on adding conditions, including an opportunity for public comment
When: Wednesday, October 24, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Room 300N, State Office Building, 100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155
You can check out MPP’s letter in support of adding opiate use disorder here, in case you want to make any of the same points.
If you are unable to attend, you may also submit written comments in support of adding one or more conditions.
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy reform: Tim Walz (D) is supportive of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Jeff Johnson (R) opposes legalization but supports medical marijuana.
Don’t miss this opportunity to voice your support for marijuana policy reform, and be sure to get out and vote!
Last November, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the additions take effect the following summer.
Starting on July 1, 2018, patients with a doctor’s certification and either of those conditions could begin registering for the program. They can start accessing medical cannabis no sooner than August 1. Our allies at Sensible Minnesota offer one-on-one assistance to patients who need help navigating the process. Learn more here.
Congratulations to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program!
Sensible Minnesota is now working on petitions to expand the program to include opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.
If you are a Minnesota medical professional who might be willing to add your voice to the petition, contact Sensible Minnesota at 952-529-4420 or by email.
Starting in July 2018, Minnesotans diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and autism spectrum disorders will qualify for medical marijuana. Congratulations to all the patients, families, and health care providers whose personal stories and expertise convinced regulators to expand the program.
Here's the complete list of conditions that currently qualify for medical marijuana in Minnesota:
- Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
- Tourette's syndrome
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of
- multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease
- Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
- Intractable pain
- Post-traumatic stress disorder