This budget cycle, I was excited to see that Governor Evers listened to the public and lawmakers alike and decided to include language that would legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. I believe in the full legalization and decriminalization of marijuana, but ensuring that people can get the medicine they need is a good first step. Unfortunately, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee and in the state senate striped out all marijuana language from the state budget.
A recent Marquette poll showed a growing majority of Wisconsin residents, now almost at 60%, support making marijuana legal. I support legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin for many reasons.
With the dangerously growing opioid crisis, I believe that marijuana could provide a viable alternative to prescription pain killers that can often lead to devastating addiction. Further, with the legalization of marijuana, we can reduce arrests of non-violent drug offenders and decrease the population in our over-crowded prisons. The economic benefits of legalization are staggering – it is estimated that Wisconsin would take in over $138 million a year in state taxes, and an additional $2.7 million in local taxes, while creating upwards of 18,000 family supporting jobs. Across the nation, states are quickly moving to capture these benefits with 33 states allowing medical use, 15 states have decriminalized marijuana, and 11 states have embraced recreational use. It is time that Wisconsin takes this next step.
Here is the current legislation I have sponsored regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana:
SB 377: Which would legalize the use of medical and recreational marijuana.
SB 507: Legalizing medical marijuana.
SB 577: Decriminalizing marijuana possession under 28 grams
The legis.wisconsin.gov website list includes a list of all of the legislation I’ve introduced this session, where you can search for legislation based on keyword, topic, or bill number, and see committee schedules.