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November 08, 2006

Election results raise hopes for medical marijuana in Wisconsin

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Good news for Wisconsin medical marijuana supporters! Both Mark Green and John Gard went down to defeat and back to private life, meaning Gov. Jim Doyle will serve four more years and Dr. Steve Kagen will be representing Green’s former congressional district instead of Gard. Green’s running mate, outgoing Rep. Jean Hundertmark, who badgered medical marijuana patients at last fall’s Health Committee hearing, joined him in defeat.

Not only were these three arch-enemies of medical marijuana sent back to private life, but there was more good news. Democrats picked up 4 seats to regain control of the State Senate 18-15. Longtime Sen. David Zien (R-Eau Claire), never a friend of medical cannabis was one of the four, along with Jacki Rickert’s state senator Ron Brown. In the Assembly, there was a pickup by the Dems narrowing the Republican majority to 53-46. Assembly Health Committee member Rep. Judy Krawczyk (R-Green Bay), who spoke out against medical marijuana at the hearing, also suffered a narrow defeat.

Two Republican contrived referendums in Wisconsin on the death penalty and banning gay marriage passed with 55/45 and about 60/40 of the vote. The referendums were concocted as a way to drive up the GOP vote. Instead, the GOP lost seats in the Assembly, lost the State Senate, lost a seat in Congress, and lost the gubernatorial election.

At the federal level, Democrats regained control of the US House of Representatives, and were 2 seats from control of the Senate. This means Rep. John Conyers will be replacing WI Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The Democratic pickups could mean that medical marijuana legislation could actually get a committee hearing.

The 3 state cannabis initiatives were less successful. In South Dakota, Initiative 4, which would have legalized medical marijuana, lost 52/44, the first such initiative loss for medical marijuana. Colorado Amendment 44 was losing 60/40 and Nevada Question 7 failed by a 56/44 margin. However, in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz CA, Missoula MT and Eureka Springs AR voters passed proposals requiring local police to make marijuana arrests their lowest priority.

With the WI State Senate in Democratic hands, and with Speaker John Gard (“medical marijuana has a mountain to climb in Wisconsin”) no longer feeding at the public trough, there is renewed hope for medical cannabis legislation in the coming session. Hopefully, a more moderate Capitol will result that will listen to the people of Wisconsin on this issue. Stay tuned!

Posted by Gary at November 8, 2006 10:53 AM

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