People in Wisconsin could use marijuana for medicinal purposes as well as recreational, under the proposal introduced by Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison). Though, passage seems grim even as the Madison Democrat seeks cosponsors. Governor Scott Walker opposes legalization, calling marijuana a “gateway” drug.
Sargent said legalizing the controversial drug would reduce crime and create jobs. “Just like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition does not eliminate the use of this product. It simply steers the profit into the underground market.” Sargent argued communities would be safer if law enforcement were able to focus on serious issues, like heroin use and domestic violence.
While GOP lawmakers at the Capitol are not champing at the bit to support decriminalizing pot, Sargent said individual supporters contacting her office are affiliated with all political persuasions. “This is not an issue that we should be considering as a party issue. This is a values issue; this is something that is the best for the people of our state.”
This bill allows for personal cultivation of no more than 12 marijuana plants at a time. Those 21 and older could possess up to a quarter-ounce of pot.
Sargent is calling for an annual state licensing fee of $1,000 for marijuana producers and sellers, and a 25 percent excise tax on sales. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in four states Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Twenty other states allow the drug for medicinal purposes
The governor’s office responded via email to the introduction of this legislation:
Governor Walker opposes legislation legalizing the use of marijuana. This is a gateway drug and Governor Walker has also heard from law enforcement professionals who have significant concerns about the impact of legalizing this drug.
Instead, Governor Walker is focused on supporting Wisconsin’s workers and employers by investing in our priorities and developing our workforce through worker training and readiness proposals. This includes his plan to provide drug treatment and job training to able bodied adults receiving unemployment insurance or public assistance benefits who fail drug screening. His goal is to help improve lives and communities throughout the state by helping people move from government dependence to true independence.
Sargent introduced similar legislation in the previous legislative session. This bill is slightly different. “We’ve completely removed edibles and infusions.” She added, “There are deep concerns in other state about the impact on young people.” If you want to buy the stuff and make your own special brownies, that would be permitted under this measure. This bill also includes a grow-your-own provision. And, they’ve moved to decriminalization.
Gary Storck is a longtime cannabis advocate and founder of Is My Medicine Legal Yet? “Even people who have historically opposed this have to be aware of the changes that are occurring around the country and just how many places are looking at this.” He said the benefits of pot are getting hard to ignore.
Governor Walker signed a CBD bill a year ago this week. Cannabidiol, or CBD, comes from the marijuana plant. It is touted as a breakthrough treatment for kids suffering seizure disorders, though it’s very controlled and critics say it’s watered down.