Wis. Republican leaders say legalizing marijuana is the wrong way to go

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 7:56 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Republican leaders say that legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin is the wrong way to look at things, while Democrats say this is a chance to create a new industry in the Badger State.

Gov. Tony Evers said Sunday that the marijuana industry could make $165 million in 2023 if Wisconsin were to legalize and regulate it.

“Frankly, red and blue states across the country have moved forward with legalization and there is no reason Wisconsin should be left behind when we know it’s supported by a majority of Wisconsinites,” Evers said.

State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) says the proposal is opposed by his local law enforcement, as well as health care workers he has talked to.

“I have reached out to law enforcement and legislators in Colorado to learn more about the impact of legalization in their state,” Marklein said. “The severe burden on law enforcement and social services they have experienced is astounding.”

State Senator Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) introduced a bill for a program to allow for possession and use of medical marijuana in January of 2020 and said she still supports that concept. However, she wasn’t sold on Governor Evers’ proposal and said that there is not legislative support for this change.

“Rather than acknowledge that, the Governor decided to issue a half-baked scheme to legalize recreational marijuana on Super Bowl Sunday, barely a week before his budget address,” Bernier said. “I wish I could have spoken with the Governor beforehand.”

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 15 states and in D.C., while 16 states have decriminalized recreational use at various levels.

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