The Wisconsin Legislature won’t legalize leisure or medical marijuana throughout this legislative session, the chief of the state Senate stated Thursday.
Gov. Tony Evers and Democrats have pushed for years to legalize each medical and leisure marijuana, however haven’t been profitable in convincing the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Though Evers included each medical and leisure proposals in his two-year state price range plan, legalizing medical marijuana was thought of extra of a chance this session because it has assist from some Republican lawmakers, together with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.
But talking at a web-based occasion hosted by WisPolitics.com on Thursday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, dominated out the opportunity of leisure or medical marijuana turning into regulation any time within the subsequent yr.
“First of all, we don’t have support from the caucus, and that’s pretty clear,” LeMahieu stated. “We don’t have 17 votes in the caucus for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes.”
LeMahieu stated senators have “societal concerns” about legalization. He additionally argued states mustn’t transfer to legalize medical marijuana earlier than the federal authorities.
“I think it’s somewhat important not to pass laws that are in conflict with the federal government,” he stated. “I think that discussion needs to be done at the federal level and not have some rogue state doing it.”
Several of Wisconsin’s neighboring states have modified their marijuana legal guidelines lately. Illinois and Michigan have legalized each leisure and medical marijuana. Minnesota has legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized leisure marijuana.
LeMahieu stated different states’ actions pose regulation enforcement challenges, however shouldn’t in any other case have an effect on Wisconsin.
“I don’t think, from a policy standpoint, it puts a whole lot of pressure on us,” he stated.
Currently, solely the usage of CBD oil, an oil extracted from cannabis vegetation that doesn’t embody THC, is authorized in Wisconsin. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed that regulation in 2017.
Supporters of medical marijuana legalization argue it’s an efficient therapy for plenty of medical situations and needs to be made obtainable to Wisconsinites who’re residing with these situations. Supporters of leisure marijuana argue regulating its sale would create tax income for the state and would additionally fight the well-documented racial disparities in these charged with marijuana-related crimes.
A 2020 report from the American Civil Liberties Union ranked Wisconsin 14th within the nation for racial disparities in arrests for marijuana possession, discovering Black persons are 4 occasions extra doubtless than white folks to be arrested for marijuana possession within the state.
Thirty-six states have handed legal guidelines legalizing medical marijuana and 17 states are regulating leisure use of marijuana, in keeping with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A 2019 ballot from Marquette University Law School discovered 83 % of Wisconsinites assist legalizing medical marijuana and 59 % assist legalizing leisure use.
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