In 2018 the City of Superior decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and the City of Ashland approved measures about declaring a resolution to support both medical and recreational cannabis. The Democrat Assitant Senate Minority Leader did not sponsor any legislation on marijuana reform in 2019-2020. Senator Janet Bewley was close to failing this session.
- Born Painesville, Ohio, November 10, 1951; married; 5 children, 5 grandchildren.
- Graduate James Ford Rhodes High School (Cleveland, Ohio), 1969; B.A., Case Western Reserve University, 1973; M. Ed., University of Maine, 1977.
- Full-time legislator. Former Community Relations Officer, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; former Dean of Students, Northland College; former executive director, Mary H. Rice Foundation.
- Member: Original cast member at Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua and current member of the Rittenhouse Chamber Singers; Wisconsin Family Impact Seminar (advisory board member); Wisconsin Paper Caucus (vice chair); Democratic National Committee.
- Former Member: Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse; Fostering Futures Policy Advisory Committee.
- Recipient: Wisconsin Association of Free & Charitable Clinics Legislative Advocate of the Year 2019; Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Legislator of the Year 2018; Wisconsin Economic Development Association Champion of Economic Development 2018; Wisconsin Builders Association Friend of Housing 2018, 2016, 2014; Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association Enlightened Legislator of the Year 2018; Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Conservation Champion 2018, 2014, 2012; Wisconsin Brewers Guild Friend of Wisconsin Craft Brewers 2013.
- Ashland City Council, 2007–09.
- Elected to Assembly 2010–12. Elected to Senate 2014. Leadership positions: Assistant Minority Leader 2017.
- Additional appointments, 2017: Wisconsin Council on Forestry; Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.
Member of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, Council on, Tourism, Council on and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority
Nov 2017 Do you believe marijuana should be legalized for recreational use in Wisconsin? The laws of our state are gradually changing in regards to marijuana use, possession and sale. The use of cannabidiol, a non-hallucinogenic derivative of marijuana, is no longer illegal for treatment of seizures, particularly in children. But there is no legal mechanism for its sale. The State Senate and Assembly have recently approved legislation that legalizes industrial hemp, which has nothing to do with recreational marijuana. These things help de-stigmatize the conversation, however, and are small steps toward discussing the harder issue of legalization. The logical next step for discussion would be whether or not we should allow medical marijuana use in Wisconsin.
If marijuana was legalized for recreation use, how do you see that impacting the Criminal Justice System? Depending upon how it is done, legalizing marijuana could have either a negative or positive effect on the state’s criminal justice system. If our criminal justice system isn’t given adequate resources, the results could be harmful. However, if well-funded and managed properly, the legal sale could generate much needed income for both the criminal justice system and treatment programs.
Do you believe that marijuana is a gateway drug to heroin, meth, or other drugs? Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede use of other licit and illicit substances, but research also shows that the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Genetic predisposition, mental illness, chronic poverty, trauma and lack of social support are the gateways to Heroine, Meth, and other drug use.
If marijuana was legalized, what impact do you see it having on Wisconsin’s Economy? The potential economic impact of legalizing recreational marijuana use is not something I am very familiar with. I haven’t seen any studies on how legalization would affect Wisconsin’s economy.
Is the legalization of marijuana a partisan issue? Legalization is not automatically a partisan issue, which means that it could have bipartisan opposition as well as support.
Dec 2019: "to reduce the penalties for small amounts of marijuana; we need to do that.”
Dec 2019: “I am not advocating for legalizing marijuana,” Sen. Bewley said. “I would be willing to have a conversation about medical marijuana, and we know that there is bipartisan support for that"