This GOP Lawmaker Says There's Not Enough Support For MMJ Legalization While Dem Gov. Pushes For Rec Cannabis

Wisconsin incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers defeated his Republican challenger Tim Michels in last week's midterms. While the prospects for cannabis legalization are not necessarily dim, keeping in mind Evers' view on the issue, top Senate Republican Devin LeMahieu thinks otherwise.

"I don't think we still have the support in our caucus even for medical marijuana," said LeMahieu in a recent interview with 27 News. "But it's obviously a discussion we'll have as a caucus going forward."

Either way, Evers intends to once again propose legalizing recreational marijuana in the next state budget, a move similar to including medical marijuana in his budget in 2019.

Gov. Evers Has A Plan

The plan, which would require users to be 21 to purchase cannabis, "is estimated to generate $166 million in revenue that Evers wants to use to help fund schools."

To that end, Evers said that "it's time for Wisconsin to join more than a dozen states across the country by legalizing and taxing marijuana, much like we already do with alcohol, so we can continue to compete for talented workers to come to our state, expand access to medical treatment for thousands, and have more resources to invest in critical state priorities like K-12 education."

This past summer, the governor issued a round of pardons, including 11 for individuals previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses, bringing his total up to 603. "It is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as governor to have the opportunity to grant a fresh start to folks who've made efforts to learn and grow from their past mistakes," Evers said in August.

GOP Wisconsinites Also Want To Legalize Cannabis

Meanwhile, it seems that Wisconsinites would like to see marijuana legalized. In August, a Marquette University Law School poll revealed that "61 % of Wisconsin voters support cannabis legalization. Interestingly, for "the first time we've seen a Republican majority in favor," said Charles Franklin, director of Marquette University Law School Poll.

The survey brought to attention a startling contrast with the opposition of top-tier GOP officials, such as Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Ramthun, to cannabis legalization.

Nevertheless, Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison) thinks there's still hope, now that LeMahieu has expressed some interest in cannabis legalization.

"Just the fact that Senator LeMahieu did say that he's interested and willing to have the conversation shows me that we are moving this ball forward," Agard said. "I very much believe that if we brought forward the bill that I've been working on, and the governor supports, to fully legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the same way that we do alcohol in the state of Wisconsin for responsible adult usage, that it would pass."

But What's With MMJ Legalization?

Earlier this year, a medical marijuana bill from LeMahieu's GOP colleague Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk), got a hearing at Wisconsin Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry. The 2022 medical cannabis bill (SB 1034) was first introduced four years ago by Felzkowski, then a member of the Assembly.

"I am grateful to the Senate leadership team for allowing me to move forward with a hearing on my medical marijuana bill this past spring," Felzkowski said in a statement on Monday. "I hope the information shared then, and the compelling stories told by our state's veterans and chronically ill neighbors who came to testify, can factor into the discussion moving forward."

Photo: Courtesy of Kindel Media and 12019 by Pixabay

 

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralDevin LeMahieumarijuana legalizationMary FelzkowskiMelissa AgardTim MichelsTony EversWisconsin
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