MILWAUKEE, WI (WTAQ) — The only Republican candidate formally running for Governor is a young business owner from Milwaukee who wants to legalize marijuana and create a blockchain-based voting system.
Johnathan Wichmann, 35, hopes to get elected as a political outsider. He says that the COVID-19 pandemic inspired him to run.
“What happened last year with all the national lockdowns, and here in Wisconsin with Governor [Tony] Evers, finally made me jump into the race,” Wichmann told WTAQ’s ‘The Regular Joe Show’. “I just didn’t see the leadership that we need here in the state of Wisconsin.”
Defining Wichmann’s candidacy are several ideas that diverge from Wisconsin GOP orthodoxy.
On Thursday, Wichmann said he was “pro-cannabis, all the way”, saying that he became so after cannabis helped a family member suffering from terminal cancer.
“I got it for her, feeling like a criminal,” said Wichmann. “Sure enough, her appetite kicked in, she started eating like a horse, and started keeping weight on. It gave her quality of life in the time we had left with her.”
Wichmann doesn’t just want to see cannabis legalized medically, however. He’d like to see it legalized recreationally, too.
“Whenever you try to ban something it creates a black market for it, we already know this,” said Wichmann. “It’s not addictive. There has never been a study that shows it is addictive. Cannabis itself is not an addictive substance like cigarettes or tobacco.”
Republican leadership in the Wisconsin State Legislature refused this year to consider legalizing marijuana at all, despite some support within their own party.
Wichmann also discussed on Thursday a plan he calls “Wisconsin’s Voice”, which he says could secure elections in the state. It’s a blockchain based system that Wichmann says would include making your vote digitally, which would then be registered, printed off, and tied to a physical ballot, which would then be taken to a traditional polling place.
“It will print out your physical ballot with a QR code directly connected to your digital vote,” explained Wichmann. “Once you bring it in, it locks the vote. It encrypts the vote. It’s done.”
Blockchain technology, the same technology that powers virtual cryptocurrency, is extremely resistant to hacking attempts.
“The actual paper ballot links back to your digital vote, and then back to you, a registered voter,” he told Giganti. “If you destroy paper ballots, there’s no way to know what happened, all the evidence is gone. With this two-step authentication process we have a digital vote as well that is traced back to a registered citizen of Wisconsin.”
Registering for the system would require valid identification.
Wichmann went over several other campaign stances during his sometimes-contentious appearance on “The Regular Joe Show”, such as his support for pro-life causes and his opposition to the minimum wage.
No other Republican candidates have formally announced, but Wichmann could be joined by former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, former congressman Sean Duffy, and Reince Priebus- the former Chief of Staff to President Trump. All three have been floated as possible challengers to incumbent Democrat Tony Evers.