Wisconsin contemplates cannabis legalization, but obstacles remain

If Illinois legalizes recreational cannabis, Wisconsinites could drive to the nearby state and purchase weed


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis in Wisconsin is still illegal, but support for legalization remains strong in the state.

A recent poll from the Marquette University Law School revealed how 59 percent of Wisconsinites support recreational cannabis legalization and 83 percent support medical cannabis legalization. However, people in Wisconsin can’t use weed legally just yet.

Currently, first-time offenders who are caught in possession of the plant will be charged with a misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of cannabis possession will either be faced with time behind bars or asked to pay a $1,000 penalty. Offenses committed thereafter will be punishable as a felony; carrying a maximum punishment of 3.5 years jail time and a $10,000 penalty.

Efforts to legalize weed in Wisconsin are ongoing

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjGrbatwc_gAhVYEbkGHaIEBoEQjhx6BAgBEAM&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thecannabisreporter.com%2Fmaryland-lawmakers-ok-bill-to-boost-diversity-in-states-medical-marijuana-industry%2F&psig=AOvVaw2plkTwUYgtjOtp5iMZjyRr&ust=1550930712078399Back in 2002, a statewide poll discovered that 80.3 percent of people in Wisconsin backed medical cannabis legalization. Regardless of the strong support for legal medical cannabis in “the Badger State” back then, a bipartisan bill sponsored by former Republican Rep. Gregg Underheim of Oshkosh at that time failed to make it out of committee.

Then, seven years later, Wisconsin Democrats assumed control of the governor’s office, the Assembly and the Senate. With the aid of pro-pot politicians like Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point, medical cannabis legislation emerged once again with the potential to pass.

A public hearing took place in 2009 when a total of 55 individuals spoke in favor of the bill and 49 registered in favor of it. Five individuals opposed the bill. Unfortunately, the bill to legalize medical cannabis in Wisconsin did not gather of bipartisan support, nor did it get a vote.

November’s pro-pot referendums gleaned great support from Wisconsinites

Last year in November, local advisory-only referendums were passed statewide in support of cannabis legalization. Included in the pro-pot votes were supporters from 16 different counties and two cities. Regardless of whether the question related to medical cannabis legalization or recreational cannabis legalization in Wisconsin, all measures passed with at least 60 percent support. None of the measures were rejected.

Bordering states are edging towards cannabis reform

https://www.google.com/search?q=guyam+cannabis&safe=strict&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_pJmx07vhAhV0SBUIHYnoD30Q_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=689&dpr=1#imgrc=7ZAtCMhttZO8ZM:Although Wisconsin cannabis laws have remained mostly the same over the years, neighboring States have started tackling the issue of cannabis prohibition. Medical cannabis has been legalized in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, with Michigan also legalizing the plant for adult-use last year.

A total of 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. Recreational cannabis use has been legalized in 10 of those States, in addition to Washington D.C. Cannabis legalization in New Jersey recently crumbled after lawmakers failed to make a decision.

In the event that Illinois legalizes recreational cannabis, Wisconsinites could drive to the nearby state and purchase weed inside legal cannabis dispensaries. Then again, with the newly elected Democratic Gov. Tony Evers declaring in February that his budget includes proposals to decriminalize cannabis in small amounts and legalize medical cannabis, driving to Illinois for over-the-counter bud might not be necessary after all.