Not too long ago, it would have been a bad idea for Wisconsin lawmakers to tackle a controversial issue like legalizing marijuana. In fact, until the past few years it would have been unimaginable. But with the state’s population reaching all-time highs, and some of the nation’s highest drug overdose and HIV infection rates, lawmakers are now taking a serious look at the pros and cons of decriminalizing pot.
A marijuana legalization bill was introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly this week by State Senator Jon Erpenbach and State Representative Chris Taylor. The bill, which is sponsored by the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, would allow adults 21 years of age and over to possess up to five ounces of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants.
As far as legalization goes, in the middle of the country, in a state that has gone through years of battles over gay rights, one can only assume that Wisconsin has been begging for it. In fact, since the recent legalization of gay marriage, Wisconsin has been dubbed as the “marijuana capital” of the US. A new bill has been proposed in the state legislature to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. If passed the bill will allow anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to 30 grams of the substance for personal use.. Read more about wisconsin legalization 2021 and let us know what you think.
In Wisconsin, no kind of marijuana, whether recreational or medical, is currently permitted. Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison) has been working to alter this for years. She has a few supporters, but with Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature, she is unlikely to make any progress. Nonetheless, she believes the effort is worthwhile.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most hazardous aspect about cannabis is that it is still illegal in Wisconsin. That is why I am proposing legislation to legalize cannabis and tax it in the same way that alcohol is now taxed. It’s outrageous that I’ve been introducing this measure for the last eight years with no public hearing. Senator Agard stated in a news release introducing the bill, “The Republicans’ refusal to enable Wisconsinites to comment on this subject is irresponsible.”
LRB 4361 was recently reintroduced by her. The measure now has 20 co-sponsors, which is a significant step forward. In contrast, her initial effort at marijuana legalization in 2013 garnered just five co-sponsors.
“People told me in 2013 that supporting or ‘leading’ – writing – this legislation would put my career on hold. They thought it was too harsh and the timing was off,” said Agard, who believes a paradigm change has occurred in recent years. “As we stand here now, it’s fair to say the landscape has shifted, and support has increased and continues to increase.”
Adults over the age of 21 would be permitted to possess up to two ounces of recreational marijuana flower and up to six plants for personal use if LRB 4361 became law. Non-residents and visitors would be permitted to possess up to a quarter ounce of marijuana at a time. Adults over 18 who have been diagnosed with a severe medical condition may also be given marijuana and may possess up to three ounces at a time. People under the age of 18 may do the same with their parent’s or legal guardian’s permission.
Tony Evers, the governor of Wisconsin, has been pushing for marijuana legalization as well. “States around the nation have gone ahead with legalization, and there’s no reason Wisconsin should be left behind,” he said in his budget for 2019 and the next fiscal year. The clause related to marijuana was removed by Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee.
Illinois and Michigan, Wisconsin’s neighbors, have also legalized marijuana, which has attracted a lot of business from Wisconsin. Senator Melissa Agard, together with Representatives David Bowen and Mark Spreitzer, attended a press conference to announce their intention to keep working for legislation that would legalize marijuana in another state. They put up a platform outside a dispensary on the Illinois-Wisconsin border, pointing out the large number of Wisconsin license plates in the parking lot. Some of the workers at the dispensary commute each day from Wisconsin, where they work.
“People can travel 45 minutes over the border from Madison and legally buy, go into a dispensary, and have access to cannabis, as I am doing right now. “Those are hard-earned tax dollars leaving our state and heading to Illinois,” Agard said.
Senator Agard believes that prohibiting marijuana use is much more harmful than allowing adults to use it.
During her press conference, Agard said, “Legalizing and taxing cannabis in Wisconsin, just as we do with alcohol, provides a controlled, safe market for our communities.” “Prohibition did not work in the case of alcohol, it did not work in the case of margarine, and it is not working in the case of cannabis.”
Marquette University reported that 60 percent of Wisconsin residents support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in a recent statewide survey. According to the survey, more than 80% of Wisconsin residents favor medical marijuana. Senator
However, the bill goes beyond legality. It lays down the groundwork for a legalized marijuana state in Wisconsin. Medical marijuana, for example, would have to be covered by health insurance providers. Only those who hold a medical marijuana card from the Department of Health Services, which puts them on a statewide register, would be affected.
It also makes it possible for individuals convicted of marijuana-related crimes to have their convictions erased if the charges are no longer deemed illegal. According to an ACLU study from 2020, Black individuals in Wisconsin are arrested for marijuana possession 4.2 times more often than White persons. The national average is 3.6 times that of the local average. According to the same study, Wisconsin ranks eighth in the country for the number of Black individuals arrested for marijuana possession per capita.
“Legalizing offers up a plethora of possibilities for all of us to reinvest as well as invest in and raise up our communities to guarantee we have a more fair and just state,” Agard added.
A permit would be required for those who grow, process, and sell marijuana for recreational purposes. For each of those stages, there are sales and excise taxes, which Senator Agard and Governor Evers believe could generate $165 million in tax revenue each year. Approximately half of the income would be used to finance reinvestment grants to assist communities impacted by the War on Drugs and other neglected regions.
Employers would be forbidden from discriminating against marijuana users unless their use is interfering with their ability to work. Driving under the influence of marijuana would still be prohibited.
Another measure is being drafted that would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. This was originally proposed in 2017, and then reintroduced as Assembly Bill 130 in 2021. Scott Fitzgerald, the state’s Senate Majority Leader, swiftly demolished a 2019 effort by two Republican State Senators to legalize some types of medicinal marijuana.
Senator Agard also has a petition that people may sign to show their support for LRB 4361 and legal cannabis in Wisconsin.
Adults may now legally use marijuana recreationally in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Last week, Wisconsin state lawmakers introduced a bill that would make possession of a small amount of marijuana a misdemeanor offense. The language of the bill, however, allows for cities and counties to be free to ban the sales of marijuana without a vote of the people. That means that if Milwaukee, the largest city in the state, chooses to ban retail sales, it would be able to do so without residents voting to change the law.. Read more about hawaii legal weed and let us know what you think.
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