With a majority of Wisconsinites supporting marijuana legalization and newly elected Gov. Tony Evers supporting it, Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, introduced a bill Thursday to completely legalize it in Wisconsin.
Sargent has introduced legislation to legalize marijuana 3 instances prior to. Her most current try would legalize the manufacture, distribution, delivery, possession and use of each recreational and medicinal marijuana. It also proposes a approach for the expungement of criminal records for these with marijuana offenses and the repeal or reduction of sentences for these incarcerated for “non-violent, minor” marijuana-connected crimes.
“Far also quite a few lives and communities have been broken by out of date and backwards cannabis policies, and we ought to take this vital and important step towards rectifying these damages,” Sargent stated in a press release. “The easy truth is, the most harmful issue about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it is illegal.”
Ten states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use and 33 states have healthcare cannabis laws. At a press conference announcing the legislation, Sargent stated Wisconsin is an “island of prohibition in the Midwest.” Wisconsin would join its neighbors to the west, east and south — Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois, respectively — in legalizing at least one particular kind of marijuana.
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A majority of registered Wisconsin voters think marijuana need to be legalized. In a January Marquette Law College Poll, 59 % of respondents stated marijuana need to be legalized. In September 2014, only 46 % supported legalization.
Across 16 counties and two cities, almost a million voters voted yes on non-binding referenda asking irrespective of whether marijuana need to be legal for healthcare or recreational use, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
“With this momentous and developing assistance for complete legalization, it is clear that the men and women are prepared for actually pragmatic and popular sense action,” Sargent stated in a statement.
In 2018, cannabis grew to a $9 billion business. Sargent stated legalizing recreational marijuana would open the door to “countless family members-sustaining jobs,” and taxing the plant would offer “abundant financial stimulus” for the state. Legalization would build an estimated $138 million in tax income and 18,000 jobs, Sargent stated.
Below the bill, an agency charged with agriculture and customer protection would oversee the business, a function one of a kind to the bill that is in contrast to statutes in other states, Sargent stated.
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Whilst developing the plant commercially would demand going via a merit-primarily based application approach, an person more than the age of 21 would be in a position to cultivate six plants for individual use, a function of other state regulations like Vermont. To possess recreational marijuana, an person would have to be more than the age of 21, but these with or undergoing therapy for a debilitating healthcare situation would be in a position to qualify to possess medicinal marijuana.
These beneath the age of 18 would be in a position to possess medicinal marijuana with their legal guardian’s consent.
Evers has proposed legalizing healthcare marijuana in Wisconsin, decriminalizing the possession of smaller amounts of the drug and expunging charges stemming from possession, according to Wisconsin Watch. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has also expressed assistance for legalizing healthcare marijuana.
Regardless of assistance from the governor’s workplace and fellow Democrats, Sargent’s most current push for legal marijuana could face a fate comparable to her earlier 3 attempts.
Republican leadership is opposed to legalizing marijuana. Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, stated he is “open to healthcare marijuana” if it is accomplished in “targeted way” but is against Evers’ proposal. Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, stated he opposes legalization, claiming there is not adequate assistance inside the Republican-controlled Senate for movement on Evers’ proposals.
Due to the fact Sargent’s bill goes nicely beyond the scope of Evers’ proposal, which would only legalize healthcare marijuana via the state spending budget, it will most likely not garner a great deal assistance from her Republican colleagues.