Wisconsin lawmakers introduce legislation to legalize cannabis in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison) and Representative Darrin B. Madison (D-Milwaukee) introduced legislation to legalize cannabis for responsible, adult use in Wisconsin on Friday.
The bill would allow Wisconsin to join 38 states and the District of Columbia which have already passed laws broadly legalizing cannabis in some form.
“I’ve said this time and time again, we know that the most dangerous thing about cannabis in Wisconsin is that it remains illegal,” Sen. Agard said. “For the past decade, I have worked to undo Wisconsin’s antiquated and deeply unjust marijuana policies and put our state on a prosperous path forward.”
Under the bill, someone 21 or older may legally possess marijuana for recreational or medical purposes. It will also allow people to produce, process, or sell marijuana if they have a permit.
Sen. Agard added, “Right now, we are seeing our hard-earned money go across the border to Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year. That is money we could be reinvesting to help support our friends and neighbors and make our state a place where people want to live, work, and play.”
The bill creates an excise tax for the privilege of producing, processing, distributing, or selling marijuana in this state, and 60% of the revenue collected from the tax would be deposited into a segregated fund called the “community reinvestment fund.”
“Legalizing cannabis is a matter of public safety and racial justice here in Wisconsin. People in Wisconsin indulge in cannabis use, and deserve the ability to buy safe cannabis and use it responsibly without being criminalized,” Rep. Madison stated. “The bill we’ve introduced today lays a solid foundation for those that have been harshly convicted for non-violent possession charges and the ramifications of those convictions.”
The bill requires the director of state courts to review the records of acts that would be decriminalized under the bill.
If someone was convicted for an act that the bill decriminalizes or lessens the penalty for, the court must be notified. If the act was a misdemeanor, the court must dismiss the conviction and expunge the record or redesignate it to a lesser crime. If the act was a felony, the court must determine if it is in the public interest to dismiss the conviction and expunge the record or redesignate it to a lesser crime.
“Wisconsin is ready to legalize it — 69% of Wisconsinites, including a majority of Republicans, support the full legalization of marijuana,” Sen. Agard said. “It is way past time that our state honors the will of the majority and seizes the many positive economic and social benefits that cannabis legalization has to offer. Let’s join folks in over half the nation who have said ‘yes’ to putting the half-baked politics of prohibition behind us and set our expectations higher.”
For more information about legalizing cannabis in Wisconsin, click here.
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