Wisconsin might legalize cannabis soon


Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

It’s looking like Wisconsin might be getting closer to legalizing cannabis, as certain lawmakers restart an effort to get legalization through the legislature. Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent recently announced she is putting forward legislation to legalize cannabis.

“It is far overdue that we listen to the voices of our constituents,” Sargent said. “The people of Wisconsin have said loud and clear that the prohibition of marijuana is not working.”

As High Times notes, Wisconsin’s recently elected Gov. Tony Evers supports legalizing social use cannabis, which makes it much more likely legalization efforts will be successful. That said, there is still significant opposition to these efforts.

“It is difficult to determine the level of support in the legislature at this point, but a recent poll shows a fairly strong majority of residents support legalization,” Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association, told Cannabis News Box. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen from the past that public support doesn’t always translate to support from the people elected to represent them, but the fact that the governor is spearheading this effort may help convince some lawmakers to seriously consider the issue.”

Wisconsin legalizing would be a big deal, as we’ve only recently seen legalization efforts start to gain momentum in the Midwest. If Wisconsin legalizes, it could convince neighboring states that it might be time for them to legalize.

“Considering Michigan is in the process of regulating cannabis for adult use and Illinois is moving closer to passing a tax and regulate law, it might just be indicative of an already existing trend in the region,” Fox said. “However, I think it would add momentum to the national push for reform and would probably embolden some other states.”

Fox noted that Wisconsin’s legislature passing a bill to regulate cannabis sales would also be the first time that’s happened in the country, which is another reason it would be a major accomplishment. Vermont legalized the possession of cannabis and some home cultivation through its legislature but has yet to pass a bill to regulate a legal market.

“If the Wisconsin legislature beats states like Illinois, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, Vermont, and Connecticut to the punch, it would be the first in the region and country to do so but also the first state to skip implementation of an effective medical cannabis program and go straight to adult use,” Fox said.

Fox also noted that Wisconsin has a long history of farming and that many of those farmers are currently struggling to get by, so growing cannabis could be an economic boom for them.