Former Wisconsin State Rep. Scott Suder, who represented the 69th district from January 1998 until September 2013, never shirked from opposing state medical cannabis legislation.
But now that the former Assembly Majority Leader is in the private sector, four Republicans are vying to replace him in a special election primary, with two supporting medical cannabis, according to the Marshfield News Herald.
The two candidates supporting the recently introduced Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act (JRMCA) are Tom Dahlen and Scott Noble. The JRMCA was introduced at an Oct. 3 Capitol press conference by Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) and the bill has been circulating for cosponsors. The cosponsor deadline was Friday, Oct. 18 at 5:00 p.m.
According to the News Herald, On Marshfield Community Television's 'Meet the Candidates' series earlier this month, Dahlen and Noble both favored legalizing marijuana for certain medical diagnoses, while Bob Kulp and Alanna Feddick, were both opposed.
"I've talked to some cancer people, and they're already doing it whether it's legal or not. They're saying, 'It's the only relief we get,'" Dahlen said. "I don't want to see it like California, everyone's got a medical card out in California. We don't want it to be used for recreational purposes, but for medical purposes, I would be all right with."
Noble said he's not qualified to decide whether a patient should take marijuana for medicinal purposes.
'These are decisions best left for patients and their doctors to discuss,' he said."
Suder resigned from the Assembly on September 3, 2013 to work for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. However, he abruptly took a position as a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Paper Council after concerns were raised about a controversial $500,000 "grant" to a sportsmen's group he had shepherded through the legislature.
Suder's tenure in the Assembly was notable for his outspoken positions on cannabis.
In 2002, Suder, then chair of the Assembly's Criminal Justice Committee, refused to hold a hearing on a medical cannabis bill assigned to his committee.
On Oct. 2, 2007, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported that Suder said the following in reference to a question about the first Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act, "My heart goes out to (Jacki Rickert), but I don't want to see her used as a tool to create an avenue for those who simply want to smoke pot," Suder said. "I'm not saying that marijuana won't help some people who are suffering, but other medicine provides that help as well."
In 2009, then-Gov. Jim Doyle signed legislation introduced by Sens. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Reps. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, and Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee to allow individual judges to decide if a person convicted of a non-traffic drug conviction would have his or her driver's license suspended. Suder's response as reported by the Badger Herald was, "If they didn't break the law in the first place, they wouldn't lose their license," Suder said. "The governor loves being soft on criminals who break the law … and this is another way to do it."