Many Republican-controlled parliaments have already said after Governor Tony Evers (D) announced that his next budget request would include a full marijuana legalization plan.
Wisconsin’s Journey to Legalize Marijuana
Before Tony Evers took office in early 2019, three separate bills had already been introduced to legalize cannabis in Wisconsin-in vain. But the newly elected governor did not waste time trying to clarify his goals. In drafting the state budget for 2019, Governor Evers announced plans to include in the summary the non-criminalization of marijuana possession and the legalization of medical marijuana.
Despite the push, the cannabis reform attempt was removed from the plan by Republicans, again shattering the hopes and no bans of a new era in Wisconsin. Over the next few months, Governor Evers continued to pressure state legislators to take action on this issue: “More than 80% of states support medical marijuana, and elected officials support those numbers without results. If you can ignore, people, something is wrong. ” His 2020 state legislature speech.
The pressure was even stronger when the COVID-19 shutdown devastated the local economy throughout 2020. March-April 2020 in many adult-use states, including Wisconsin’s neighbor Illinois, according to figures released by New Frontier Data. These sales remained high throughout the lockdown, resulting in record sales (and local tax revenues) in many legitimate states.
These numbers showed Governor Evers one thing. He had to go bolder. On Sunday, February 7, the Governor of Wisconsin announced plans to fully legalize cannabis as part of the 2021-2023 state budget. In a statement, the governor said, “The legalization and taxation of marijuana in Wisconsin will make regulated markets and safe products available to both entertainment and medical users, as we have already done with alcohol. I guarantee it. ” We can reinvest in the community and open the door to countless opportunities to create a more equitable state. “
The plan will legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and allow Wisconsin residents to carry up to 2 ounces of cannabis and grow up to 6 plants for personal use. The Governor’s Office said the plan “provides a way for people suffering from chronic or debilitating pain and illness to get the medicines they need, while increasing income, creating jobs and reducing the cost of the criminal justice system. I will do it. “
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that products are subject to a 15% sales tax on wholesale and an additional 10% sales tax on retail sales. This is not to mention the sales tax of existing states. Governor Evers said the program could bring more than $ 165 million to the state after 2023. However, Republican lawmakers are still opposed to this proposal.
Republicans shoot down recreational marijuana — open to less reforms
“The legalization of recreational marijuana is not in the best interests of Wisconsin. There are serious health and social issues that need to be understood,” Senator Chris Kapenga, R., said Wednesday following Governor Evers’ announcement. , Governor Evers should not pursue huge dollars at the expense of the safety of the Wisconsin people, especially our children, “Kapenga continued in a press release.
“The Governor is determined to follow science for COVID-19, but is blind to the legalization of non-FDA-approved medicines covered by all other medicines. What happened to the prestigious goal of keeping people and our children safe? “
The senator showed little room in the first statement, but there are other Republicans who could compromise. Senator Shay Sotwell (R) and Senator Kathy Bernier (R) have promoted legislation to criminalize small amounts of cannabis. The bill clarifies that possession of a pot of up to 10 grams leads to a civil penalty of $ 100 and prevents repeated crimes from leading to a felony conviction.
A handful of Republicans, including Speaker of Parliament Robin Vos (R), are ready to consider legalizing medical cannabis. Senator Mary Feltskowski, R, is particularly fond of this idea as she will soon resubmit her medical marijuana legalization bill to her colleagues. She recently said: “If you start with medical marijuana within a very regulatory framework, I think the public will accept it … The biggest thing we’re looking for this year is a hearing. In fact, we have this area. Let’s listen to the expert’s story. “
Although non-criminalization and medical cannabis fall short of Governor Evers’ grand plan, he is confident that he is acting with the support of his fellow Wisconsin state.
Wisconsin wants to legalize weeds
Wisconsin residents have revealed that watches are banned. Proponents of the state’s cannabis law reform are looking at many factors, including alternative medicine, increased state revenues, and revitalization of poorer areas. And according to the governor, that’s exactly where the money goes. Of the estimated $ 165 million, $ 80 million will be invested in low-income areas and an additional $ 34 million will support local school districts.
According to a recent poll by the University of Marquette Law School, nearly 83% of voters in Wisconsin agreed with the legalization of medical marijuana, and nearly 60% agreed with full use for recreational purposes. The same support was shown in 2019, with residents of Wisconsin in three counties voting in favor of reforming marijuana law on non-binding advisory voting questions.
Whether or not state legislators act, local-level officials are already working to reassess cannabis law. Last month, Madison, Wisconsin chose to remove most penalties for possession and consumption of cannabis, and Milwaukee officials called for significantly lower fines for low-level marijuana violations.
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