Timeline: Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Marijuana

Posted: January 23, 2019 by Gary Storck
Category: Politics

UPDATED: 02/21/2019 8:55:59 PM As we did with former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Cannabadger has assembled the following comprehensive timeline of comments made about cannabis by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), beginning Monday, April 13, 2015, with the most recent addition to the timeline on top. The timeline currently includes eleven statements, two of which are video, regarding cannabis made by Speaker Vos or his office through Thursday, February 21, 2019. It will be updated as new information becomes available.

Thursday, February 21, 2019: The Associated Press reports Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said at a WisPolitics.com luncheon he is removing Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to legalize medical marijuana because it includes a provision that would decriminalize up to 25 grams of cannabis. Vos said he only gives medical cannabis a 10% chance of passing the GOP-controlled Legislature, because it would also decriminalize possession of recreational marijuana. Vos also echoed comments he made Feb. 21 on the Jay Weber show on WISN radio claiming Gov. Evers failed to work with him to reach a middle ground on a marijuana proposal that could win support. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Vos told attendees, “There’s no chance Republicans are going to go for recreational marijuana. We’re not going to decriminalize it so people can carry around baggies of weed all over the state.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2019: GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appears on the Jay Weber Show on NewsTalk 1130 WISN radio and discusses Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to include medical cannabis legalization and statewide decriminalization of up to 25 grams of cannabis in his budget. Both Vos and host Jay Weber were very hostile to Evers’ proposal and exhibited extreme cannabigotry. I share the transcript on Cannabadger.com. Speaker Vos’ comments include these three quotes:

“First of all we’re not going to do it in the budget because it’s not an item that should be discussed. “

“And first of all even some of the things that he allows for people to potentially have access to it. I mean that’s the first discussion we have to have if somebody has you know terminal cancer or if somebody has you know a diagnosed disease like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome or severe arthritis or something that a doctor has said is a real condition.”

“I do not support the legalization of marijuana but I think that you could have a situation where in a very limited circumstance through a process which is not growing pot at home you would have the opportunity to have some people who have the ability to have relief from medical marijuana to utilize it.”

Monday, February 18, 2019: Responding to Gov. Tony Evers announcement of a proposal to legalize medical cannabis and enact statewide decriminalization of up to 25 grams of cannabis through the state budget, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos issued a press release:

Statement on Governor Evers’ Marijuana Proposal

Madison…Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement concerning Governor Evers’ marijuana proposal that was released to the media.

“Without having specific details, his proposal appears to go too far. It makes it easier to get recreational marijuana and provides a pathway to full legalization, which I do not support. I’m open to medical marijuana when it’s prescribed by a doctor but it has to be done in a targeted way without allowing recreational use.”

Statemement issued by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Monday, February 18, 2019 in response to Gov. Tony Evers proposals to legalize medical cannabis and enact statewide cannabis decriminalization for up to 25 grams of pot.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019: Commenting on plans by Gov. Tony Evers to include what he called the “first steps” to legalizing medical cannabis in Wisconsin, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, (R-Rochester) tells Wisconsin Public Radio he’s open to legalizing medical marijuana but he doesn’t want that to “lead us down a slippery slope where there’s pot on every corner.” Vos said he hopes Evers hasn’t “poisoned the conversation through his own inexperience.”

Saturday, December 29, 2018: The Racine Journal Times reports Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) agrees with local law enforcement officials opposing the Racine city council’s directive to Racine Police to make cannabis law enforcement a lower priority after Racine voters approved a cannabis advisory referendum in the Nov. 6 election. “I am willing to have a discussion about what are the appropriate sentences for each crime,” Vos said. “But the City Council doesn’t get the right to say we’re going to prosecute crimes differently, on a state charge, than someone in Mount Pleasant or Caledonia. That’s just not the way the system works.” When it comes to marijuana, Vos said he is in favor of initiatives regarding medical marijuana, but he is not in favor of recreational marijuana. Vos tells the Journal Times, “A crime is a crime. I certainly, as I said, am willing to have a discussion and listen to folks who believe that drug possession should not be as serious a crime. But I’m doubtful that I want to make drug possession less strenuously enforced than it is now.”

Friday, November 16, 2018: Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service publishes an article looking at the cannabis referendum sweep looking at recent comments by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). Kit Beyer, Vos’ communications director, says Vos has long supported medical marijuana but doesn’t support legalizing recreational marijuana. Beyer said that Vos supports “a system where patients can get a prescription for marijuana from their doctor filled at a pharmacy.” However, Beyer noted that the Speaker believes medical cannabis first needs to first happen at the federal level first.

Sunday, November 11, 2018: Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos outlines his positions on medical and adult use cannabis on WISN’s UpFront with Mike Gousha.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018: The Racine Journal Times reports Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said he has been in favor of medical marijuana but to him, this is a federal issue. “This really is a signal, for me, to have the federal government step in and deal with this issue. Whether or not Wisconsin makes a decision on marijuana it’s still a federal crime. So this really needs to be dealt with in Washington.” Vos said medical marijuana should be prescribed like a prescription painkiller. Vos also pushed back against adult use cannabis legalization saying, “I also do not support recreational marijuana. I saw the results of the advisory referendum and I’m open to listening to the arguments. But I don’t know why in the world we would make access to any drugs easier when we’re dealing with such a huge opioid and drug crisis in Wisconsin.”

Tuesday, November 03, 2018: In a Racine Journal Times story published on election day, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), discussing the cannabis advisory referendums, says the results should be something the federal government should look at before the state acts. “No matter what we do, it’s still against the federal law. I’ll always look at the results and I want to listen to what people say.” Vos claims that in discussions with voters, “less than one handful” of people are interested in this subject. “It is not a topic that is a major issue for almost anybody that I speak to. If anything I think these advisory referenda should be something the federal government looks at to decide whether or not they should allow medicinal marijuana in states that would like to have it or have that discussion.” Vos tells the Journal Times he opposes legalizing pot for adult use but regarding medical cannabis, says he finds the arguments persuasive. “I think people should have the ability to go to Walgreen’s or Lakeview Pharmacy — you name the location — and get a prescription for that just like they do for somebody who gets a prescription for oxycodone or a traditional painkiller.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017: Wisconsin Public Radio, reporting on the introduction of cannabis legalization legislation by Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), asks the office of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) for comment. Vos’ office says he opposes it.

Monday, April 13, 2015: Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) responds to a press conference by Melissa Sargent announcing her cannabis legalization bill.