Wisconsin marijuana legalization may be coming soon thanks to new bill
Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D) announced plans to file the bill surrounded by mature plants at a local hemp farm.
The bill would legalize possession of up to five ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and over, more than the two ounces next door in Minnesota. Home grow of up to 12 plants would also be permitted (Minnesota only allows eight). A ten percent excise tax would be applied to all retail and lounge purchases, while cultivators would also be subject to a 15 percent tax upon the wholesale transfer of their bud.
Similar to neighboring state Minnesota, Sen. Agard’s bill calls for the automatic expungement of low-level, non-violent cannabis offenses. Consumption lounges would have to be approved by cities.
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Sen. Agard’s previous efforts to legalize cannabis in the Badger State were thwarted by the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Democratic Governor Tony Evers has long supported the legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin.
“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 in a statement. “This proposal will not only allow Wisconsin to right past wrongs, it will bring us in line with our neighbors and create countless opportunities to grow our economy and attract people to our state.”
— Senator Melissa Agard 🌻 (@SenatorAgard) September 22, 2023
A recent survey found that Wisconsin residents spent approximately $121 million on legal cannabis in Illinois in 2022 alone. Supporters of the initiative believe those tax dollars belong in their state’s coffers.
“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,” Sen. Agard added.
The bill faces an uphill battle, but if the pro-cannabis camp has its way, it’s only a matter of time before America’s Dairyland takes steps toward reform.