Wisconsin 2022-2023 Election Coverage by Jay Selthofner

2022 Election – Wisconsin Federal Races

The stages are set for the General Election on November 8th, 2022. Documented below is information about the Wisconsin US Senate and Congressional candidates feelings and actions towards marijuana reform. We hope you find this information helpful when it comes time to vote.

There are of course a few candidates with no response or stance unknown. This is alarming. You would think the major pressure would be on federal candidates to address this issue. A recent article by the Brookings Institution entitled Congressional candidates’ silence on cannabis reform caught many activists attention. The article was in depth and you are encourage to read it. The summary of the analysis of the data is something that needs to be shared with you and is very evident in our Wisconsin Congressional candidates.

The article ends “In sum, cannabis as a political issue has risen in importance over the past 25 years. As state legislatures and voters via referenda have enacted changes to cannabis laws, the issue has become more popular even in the halls of Congress. However, cannabis reform advocates’ frequent stupefaction at the lack of progress at the federal level bumps up against a stark reality. Most candidates for federal office do not see cannabis as an issue prominent enough to discuss, and deep partisan differences still remain among elected officials, even as support for cannabis in the general public has exploded in recent years. And the true motivator for a member of Congress to take or change a position—whether voters hold their feet to the fire over an issue—has not yet become a reality in the vast majority of Congressional races across the United States.”

How Do We Make Change in 2022
How Do We Make Change in 2022

My Vote Wisconsin is a website designed to help you register to vote, find your polling place, vote absentee, view a sample ballot and so much more. If you are a first time voter or need more information, the www.MyVote.WI.gov can be a valuable resource.

Fall General Election is Tuesday November 8th, 2022.

US Senate

Senator Johnson has spoken out against recreational marijuana legalization many times. His opposition stance has grown stronger over the years he has been in office. He will say it is a states rights issue but has not really helped clear any barriers at the federal level. He has done nothing to help medical marijuana patients.

As a former State Assembly Representative and as Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has been a champion of cannabis reform. His administration included marijuana reform in both budget proposals only to have the provisions removed by Republicans.

He has a deep understanding of the issue and all the moving parts at the federal level. Not only would he work on the issue at the federal, but his knowledge of the obstacles in Wisconsin would help craft a federal bill that would not leave Wisconsin behind.

Congressional District 1

Bryan Steil has not been to supportive of actual reform when he has a chance to vote and has offered no solutions to be considered by his colleagues. He voted NO to The MORE Act, he voted against preventing the Department of Justice from prosecuting cannabis users and businesses in states where recreational cannabis is legal.

Bryan Steil is not an advocate for recreational or medicinal marijuana legalization. 

Ann Roe said “I support decriminalization as does the majority of our district.”

No response.

Congressional District 2

Mark Pocan is a vocal advocate for legalizing cannabis at a federal level. He has consistently voted in favor of progressive reform legislation, and calls for sensible marijuana laws. 

As a consistent author/co-sponsor of cannabis legislation for years, he is an asset to the cannabis reform movement.

Contacted with no response.

Contacted with no response.

Congressional District 3

After some back and forth with his office on the issue, Brad Pfaff did end up co-sponsoring the 2021-22 legislation to legalize adult use marijuana in Wisconsin.  Source

Back in 2020 Derrick Van Orden participated in some facebook banter about cannabis reform with a veteran cannabis activist.  Van Order replied “I support the legalization of medical marijuana, not recreational.”  He goes onto  add “That may not be popular position with some Republicans, but it has been proven to work for several different conditions.  As a SEAL, we understand that if it works, it works.”  Since that time, it seems Derrick has dodged the issue, candidate interviews and debates.

Congressional District 4

The war on drugs ripped American families apart, falling especially hard on communities of color. Its effects continue to wreak havoc across the country.

Gwen Moore is a consistent co-sponsor of cannabis reform at the federal level. She always has great insight and comments in the main stream media when asked about marijuana.

Contacted with no response.

Robert Raymond completed the 2020 Candiate Questionnaire and we are happy to report that he supports ending federal marijuana prohibition.

Congressional District 5

Fitzgerald was a NO to anything marijuana and even opposed allowing public hearings on his watch as a Wisconsin State Senator. He was labeled as an obstacle to decriminalization from even conservative measures by fellow Republicans going back to 2017.

His lack of compassion was just as evident as his lack of education on the issue of medical cannabis. The sick, dying and disabled of Wisconsin suffered under his control and patients within his districts ending up dying while being insulted by this prohibitionist.

Will money change Fitzgerald and his stance on cannabis? His first vote on the issue concerned money/banking and he voted yes to the 2021 Safe Banking Act …. maybe it was by mistake…..

He did vote NO to the 2022 Medical Marijuana Research Act and The More Act.

Cannabis reform is a campaign platform for Mike Van Someren:

We need to reduce sentencing guidelines for non-violent crime, especially for marijuana-related crimes. In fact, legalization of marijuana would free up significant police resources while also adding tax revenues to the state and allowing for the regulation of the production and sale of marijuana. A regulated marijuana industry not only provides tax revenue but also increases safety to consumers utilizing marijuana and removes a lucrative funding source from criminal organizations.

Congressional District 6

  • Voted in favor of the SAFE Banking Act of 2021, which allows banks to work with cannabis businesses that are legal at the state level. (2021)
  • Voted against the MORE Act, which would end the prohibition of cannabis at the federal level, expunge low-level cannabis convictions, and levy a tax on cannabis sales to fund grants for communities that have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. (2020)
  • Voted against preventing the Justice Department from prosecuting cannabis users and businesses in states where recreational cannabis is legal. (2019)
  • Cosponsored the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2015, which would have ended the federal prohibition of CBD. (2015)
  • Cosponsored the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which would end the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.
  • Cosponsored the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would end the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.
  • Cosponsored LUMMA, which would move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II and allow states to set their own medical cannabis policy.
  • Voted in favor of preventing the Justice Department from prosecuting medical cannabis patients and providers in states where it is legal. (2015)
  • Voted against preventing the Justice Department from prosecuting cannabis users and businesses in states where recreational cannabis is legal. (2015)
  • Voted in favor of allowing VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis for veterans in states where it is legal. (2016)

Glenn Grothman is a proponent for hemp and its ability to help agricultural areas of Wisconsin, but is against recreational marijuana.

Congressional District 7

Tom Tiffany opposed reform as a Wisconsin state elected official and continues blow smoke about cannabis reform at the federal level.  He voted against the SAFE Banking Act and The MORE Act.  At this point he is just another prohibitionist Republican stating marijuana legalization is a states right issue and under the 10th Amendment Wisconsin has the right to do what they want. 

  •  Does Not Support Federal Legalization
  • Does Not Support Expunge Past Cannabis Convictions
  •  Does Not Support Reinvest In Communities Most Impacted By The War On Drugs
  •  Does Support to Allow States To Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis
  •  Does Support to Allow States To Legalize Medical Cannabis
  •  Does Not Support to Allow VA Doctors To Recommend Medical Cannabis
  •  Does Not Support to Allow Cannabis Businesses To Use Banks

When campaigning, Dick Ausman speaks freely about his support for reforming the marijuana laws and would champion legalization efforts if elected.

Congressional District 8

Mike Gallagher voting record speaks for it self. He has consistently voted against any federal marijuana reform efforts. He is another Republican who claims legalization should be a states right issue but has no voting record backing the claim up and has offered no legislative solutions. Many prohibitionist Republicans say marijuana reform is a states rights issue and they have the right to say no, despite what voters say.

  •  Does Not Support Federal Legalization
  • Does Not Support Expunge Past Cannabis Convictions
  •  Does Not Support Reinvest In Communities Most Impacted By The War On Drugs
  •  Does Not Support to Allow States To Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis
  •  Does Not Support to Allow States To Legalize Medical Cannabis
  •  Does Not Support to Allow VA Doctors To Recommend Medical Cannabis
  •  Does Not Support to Allow Cannabis Businesses To Use Banks

Libertarian Candidate Jake VandenPlas supports reforming the cannabis laws in the United States and his knowledge of Wisconsin would make sure our state is not left behind.

Previous campaigns have had legalizing cannabis as a platform priority for Paul Boucher.

I am 100% in support of and committed to legalizing marijuana at the federal and state level. Decriminalizing marijuana is fundamental to criminal justice reform and begin correcting wrongs stemming from the war on drugs. I also support allowing cannabis businesses to use banks, expunging past cannabis convictions, and reinvesting in communities most impacted by the war on drugs. I also want to see a tax on marijuana that could be used to reinvest in our communities.

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As part of the 2022 election coverage, we also take a closer look at the 2022 State Senate and State Assembly Candidates in more detail, so stay tuned, stay educated and stay active!

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