Welcome to Wisconsin NORML

Welcome to the website for The Wisconsin Chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
The steering committee would like to first thank all previous activism throughout the state over the decades.
The organizations representing NORML deserve your local support.  We encourage you to support Madison NORML, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML and Northern Wisconsin NORML.
An initial steering committee for The Wisconsin Chapter for NORML does include board members from each existing chapter, as well as individuals who are willing to work towards establishing and maintaining the chapter as a registered non profit.
We have a great deal of ground to cover physically speaking.  We have a great deal expenses to cover financially.   We have a great deal of work to do.  The great news is we have great resources right here in our state, the most important one is you.
Applications will be emailed to individuals interested in a board member position,  steering committee and/or volunteers.
Please use the general contact form on the Apply Page and the chapter will email you additional information and application.
Once we have enough interest and qualified candidates for positions, public meetings will be planned and elections will be held.

CUNA-backed SAFE Banking Act passes House Financial Services Cmte

The House Financial Services Committee passed the CUNA-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) Thursday by a bipartisan vote of 45-15. The bill would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions serving legal cannabis-related businesses.

“We thank the House Financial Services Committee for advancing the SAFE Banking Act, and for taking the time to hear from credit union and other witnesses during its consideration of the bill,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Regardless of one’s feeling of legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, CUNA and others have demonstrated that the current status quo for these businesses is a public safety concern and will remain so if these businesses cannot access mainstream financial services.”

Specifically, H.R. 1595 would:

Offer narrowly targeted federal protections for credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits, extending credit, or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in cannabis related commerce in states where such activity is legal with a safe harbor, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations; and
Provides safe harbor to credit unions and their employees who are not aware if their members or customers are involved in this business.
CUNA witness Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified before the House Financial Services subcommittee on consumer protection and financial institutions in February about the importance of allowing these legal businesses to access financial services.

That hearing featured several stories from subcommittee members about cannabis businesses and personnel being targeted because of the large amounts of cash present.

During the three-day House Financial Services Committee markup, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced an amendment to the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500) today that would have created a commission to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) instead of the current model which has the bureau led by a single director.

While Luetkemeyer withdrew the amendment before the House Financial Services Committee could vote on it, CUNA’s Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan thanked the Congressman.

“We appreciate Rep. Luetkemeyer’s continued support for a commission to run the CFPB. CUNA has long called for the creation of just such a leadership structure, and will continue to engage with Rep. Luetkemeyer, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and other lawmakers on this important issue,” Donovan said.

Wisconsin: Legislature Asked To Clarify Patchwork Of Marijuana Laws

Sheriff, Hemp And Pot Advocates Say There’s Too Much Confusion Now
By John Davis
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 10:25am

The Wisconsin Legislature needs to do a better job clarifying marijuana policies that differ statewide — that’s according to supporters of legalized hemp and cannabis, and a Wisconsin sheriff.

Gov. Tony Evers has proposed legalizing medical marijuana, making possession of small amounts of the drug legal for personal use and allowing people convicted of past marijuana crimes to have them expunged from their record in his proposed state budget.

Some local communities have reduced penalties for marijuana offenses, while others haven’t.

States bordering Wisconsin, including Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan all already have medical marijuana programs. Wisconsin does not.

Just last week, Florence County, in northeastern Wisconsin, which borders Michigan’s Upper Peninsula passed an ordinance prohibiting all marijuana establishments in response to Michigan becoming the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana.

“When you’re caught with marijuana in Wisconsin it really depends on who you are, where you’re caught and how much you’re caught with,” said Jay Selthofner, the founder of the northern Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

“Our drug unit doesn’t look at possession of marijuana. We’re not looking on the street for the user. But we have three major music festivals that we will cite people if they’re found to be in possession and we’ll probably escort them out of the festival for the day as we would an underaged juvenile drinking,” said Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer.

“We work very few marijuana cases. Our goal right now in this state is opioids, methamphetamine and the things that are causing major social issue in our communities,” he said.

Cramer said police are waiting for a position paper from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to spell out how to approach marijuana cases under state laws because of the confusion.

“Fifteen of our largest cities have decriminalized simple possession, that roughly is 1.5 million to 2 million people in our state,” Selthofner said. “Other counties have taken similar measures. But if you look at the state law, it’s archaic, to basically put somebody in jail for a plant.”

In 2016, Selthofner cites FBI statistics that NORML uses showing there were 16,000 arrests in Wisconsin for possession of marijuana and 1,800 arrests for selling pot.

“It needs to be changed. Especially because we’re surrounded by states that have either decriminalized, have medical marijuana or have recreational cannabis available to Wisconsin people who would travel there,” he said.

Meanwhile, hemp, marijuana’s non-psychoactive relative, is set to expand in its second year of legal production in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Hemp Alliance attorney Larry Konopacki said more than 2,000 applications have been submitted in 2019 to grow hemp in Wisconsin, more than six times the 300 applications that were submitted in 2018.

“I think it’s just interesting that we’re even talking about hemp and CBD in the same context as marijuana. It’s like a poppy seed muffin and heroin, they come from the same thing,” Konopacki said. “You can’t separate these things. I think from the hemp industry, we wish you could, but you can’t.”

He expects new legislation he’s calling “Hemp 2.0” that will update regulation of the second year of the state’s hemp industry to be introduced this week.

But it’s not expected to address marijuana.

“There are a lot of people out there who right now are perfectly legal in what they’re doing, but it’s very hard to distinguish between the legal and illegal activity. That of course would be solved if legalization (of marijuana) would occur,” Konopacki said.

“That’s a big policy and political question as to whether within our state we’re ready to do that. At this point, there’s strong forces that say ‘no’ and there’s strong forces that say ‘yes,’” he added.

The most recent Marquette University poll taken in January showed 59 percent support legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin and 35 percent are against legalization.

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2019, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.


Listen: The West Side, March 25, 2019

WPR/Rich Kremer


WPR/Rich Kremer
WPR/Rich Kremer

Host Rich Kremer welcomes Larry Konopacki from the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance, Jay Selthofner from the Northern Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer to discuss Governor Tony Evers’ proposal to decriminalize possession and distribution of marijuana in amounts of 25 grams or less for personal use. The proposal also looks to legalize medical marijuana and get rid of the yearly physician’s certificate that is needed for use of cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD oil, to treat seizures.

Rich Kremer

Ron Cramer
Larry Konopacki
Jay Selthofner
Rich Kremer
Katharine Thomas
Kailin Schumacher
Mort Sipress
Kate Spranger

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2019, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

Study: Persistent Cannabis Use Associated With Reduced Body Mass Index

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Cannabis Use

East Lansing, MI: The use of cannabis over time is inversely related to obesity, according to data published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

A team of Michigan State University researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis use and body mass index (BMI) over time in a nationally representative sample of 33,000 subjects.

Investigators reported that cannabis-using subgroups exhibited “appreciably attenuated BMI gain” over the trial period as compared to non-users and quitters, “with the largest attenuation seen in the ‘persistent use’ group.”

They concluded: “This new prospective study builds from anecdotes, pre-clinical studies and cross-sectional evidence on inverse associations linking cannabis use and obesity and shows an inverse cannabis–BMI increase association. Confirmatory studies with rigorous cannabis and BMI assays will be needed.”

Several prior population-based studies, such as those here, here, and here, have similarly reported an inverse relationship between cannabis use and obesity.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Are cannabis users likely to gain weight? Results from a national 3-year prospective study,” appears in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Congress: Over 25 Percent Of House Members Sign On To Marijuana Banking Act

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Marijuana Banking
Washington, DC: More than one-quarter of US House members have signed on to newly introduced legislation to facilitate greater access to banking for state-licensed cannabis operators.

The 2019 version of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced last Thursday and now has 113 co-sponsors — the most ever for a marijuana law reform bill.

Under federal law, banks and other financial institutions are discouraged from entering into relationships with marijuana-specific businesses. This has led to the industry operating on a largely ‘cash-only’ basis.

Last month, members of the US House, Consumer Protection and Financial Institution Subcommittee heard testimony in favor of federal banking reform. NORML submitted testimony to the Committee, opining: “In short, no industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and it is self-evident that this industry, and those consumers that are served by it, will remain severely hampered without better access to credit and financing. Ultimately, Congress must amend federal policy so that these growing numbers of state-compliant businesses, and those millions of Americans who patronize them, are no longer subject to policies that needlessly place them in harm’s way.”

The SAFE Banking Act is one of several marijuana-related bills introduced in Congress in recent days. Other legislation includes The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, The Marijuana Justice Act, The Next Step Act, and The Marijuana Data Collection Act of 2019.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500, or visit NORML’s Legislative Action Center.

Drugged Driving: Wisconsin law enforcement prepares for Michigan’s legalization of marijuana

Jessica Struzik, Secretary of Northern Wisconsin NORML and owner of Green Web Design and Chamber of CannaBiz, appears in this video and article.

MARINETTE, Wis. — In December, Michigan became the 10th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. But for Wisconsin communities along the border of Michigan, that means law enforcement will likely see an increase of impaired drivers on the road. Preparing for that potential trend, police and sheriff’s departments across the state of Wisconsin are training officers on how to detect impaired drivers.

By early 2020, marijuana dispensaries, or shops that sell pot, are expected to open up across the state of Michigan. By the time that happens, law enforcement on Wisconsin’s side of the border would like to see their officers ready and trained for what to look for in terms of drivers under the influence of pot.

In Marinette, Wisconsin, along Michigan’s border, police say that driving under the influence of drugs has become almost as big of a problem as drunk driving in recent years. That’s part of the reason why drug recognition experts with the Marinette Police Department are continually bringing in volunteers from Michigan who have smoked marijuana legally so that their officers and officers from across the state can observe the telltale signs of impairment. This has become a problem that course instructors say is likely going to become a bigger concern for police across Wisconsin, once pot shops open in Michigan and tourists start making the drive for a visit.

Investigator Justen Ragen with the Oconto County Sheriff’s office says that getting officers specialized training now is a critical step in preparing for what many members of law enforcement may likely encounter, in the near future.

“It’s important because we’re gonna see more and more of it and unfortunately this isn’t gonna go away,” says Investigator Ragen.

For Marinette Police officers along Wisconsin’s border, the trend of driving under the influence of pot has been a trend that has only increased in recent years. Lt Scott Ries, who has been on their force for 23 years, says the legalization of marijuana in Michigan has his department making more arrests and issuing more citations.

“With them having a recreational marijuana law we understand that people are driving under the influence because there is a higher use whenever you a have a new law that allows something to be legal,” says Lt. Ries.

Menominee, Michigan is expected to see a major influx in tourism once marijuana shops start opening in early 2020. Law enforcement along the border of Wisconsin say they just don’t know what to expect on Wisconsin’s side of that border in terms of impaired driving goes, once that happens.

Tonight at 10 pm on NBC26 we’ll be exploring this topic in greater depth. We will also be speaking with marijuana advocates about some of the positive impacts that recreational legalization could mean for Michigan.

By: Eric Crest

Source: NBC26

Wisconsin: Governor Calls For Overhaul Of State’s Marijuana Policies

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Wisconsin: Marijuana
Madison, WI: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has publicly announced his support for amending the state’s marijuana laws in a manner that would permit its medical access and decriminalize its recreational use.

Speaking Monday at a press conference outlining the state’s budget, the Governor said that Wisconsin should join the other 33 states that regulate medical cannabis access. He also called for decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses (involving up to 25 grams) and expunging past marijuana-related convictions. The Governor opined that police often make marijuana arrests in a racially disproportionate manner. Historically, African Americans are arrested for marijuana possession crimes in Wisconsin at approximately six-times the rates of whites.

Under existing state law, the possession of marijuana is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six-months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and a criminal record.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500, or visit: Northern Wisconsin NORML.

Study: Majority Of Medical Cannabis Patients Are Seeking Pain Relief

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Medical Cannabis
Ann Arbor, MI: Most US patients registered to access medical cannabis cite chronic pain as their primary qualifying condition, according to data published in the journal Health Affairs.

Investigators from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor reviewed patient registration data from the majority of states that provide medical cannabis access. (Some states, notably California and Maine, possess voluntary registries and therefore do not compile patient profile data.)

They reported that in 2016, chronic pain was the most common qualifying condition reported by patients (65 percent). They added, “Of all patient-reported qualifying conditions, 85 percent had either substantial or conclusive evidence of therapeutic efficacy,” as defined by the 2017 report published by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The authors of that report concluded that there exists conclusive or substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and spasticity.

Separate studies indicate that legal cannabis access is typically associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse. Studies have also identified a reduction in the prevalence of opioid-related mortality following statewide marijuana access.

Authors concluded: “[O]ur data show that the number of medical cannabis patients has risen dramatically over time as more states have legalized medical cannabis. … [W]e believe not only that it is inappropriate for cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, but also that state and federal policy makers should begin evaluating evidence-based ways for safely integrating cannabis research and products into the health care system.”

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Qualifying conditions of medical cannabis license holders in the United States,” appears in Health Affairs. Additional information is available in NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship Between Marijuana and Opioids.”

Source: https://norml.org/news/2019/02/14/study-majority-of-medical-cannabis-patients-are-seeking-pain-relief

Sturgeon Bay: Vote YES On April 2nd!

The Sturgeon Bay City Council is gauging public support by putting the referendum on legalizing cannabis or marijuana on the April 2019 ballot. Voters will be asked to weigh in on two questions covering both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.

Alderman Seth Wiederanders has pushed the idea of a non-binding referendum on the subject. A majority on the council joined him in supporting public opinion on the proposal.

You’ll remember that the Door County Board, in a previous meeting, went on record in support the idea of allowing the use of medical marijuana in the badger state. The board’s resolution was sent on to legislative leaders in Madison and Washington D.C.

VOTE YES April 2nd!


A look at one marijuana referendum on the ballot

Jessica Struzik, Secretary of Northern Wisconsin NORML and owner of Green Web Design and Chamber of CannaBiz, appears in this video and article.

People in Menominee, Michigan, on the other side of the Menominee River from Marinette, will vote Tuesday on whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

The result could mean an influx of marijuana making its way to Wisconsin, according to police on the border.

In the video above, NBC26’s Eric Crest reports on the issue from Marinette.

By: Eric Crest

Source: NBC26