Governor Tony Evers has made plans to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, as well as recreational use and selling in small amounts, according to a story by the Journal Sentinel.
Evers aims to propose in his first state budget proposal to decriminalize marijuana if its users, manufacturers, and distributors handle 25 grams or fewer. In addition, he wants to create Wisconsin’s first medical marijuana program, which would be regulated by the state’s health and agriculture departments.
The plan was unveiled today in the state Capitol. It will also expunge convictions of possessing, manufacturing or selling 25 grams or fewer from criminal records of those found guilty in the past.
Wisconsin is one of 17 states that has not legalized marijuana in some form.
Evers’ plans to legalize marijuana may face some barriers in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has opposed legalizing marijuana.
Senator Alberta Darling said last month that she didn’t think there is strong support in the Legislature yet. However, other representatives have been supporting legalization for years.
Evers’ proposal calls for medical marijuana to be made available for those treating a “debilitating medical condition” diagnosed by doctors. This includes AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
The cost of Evers’ plan would be $1.6 million over the next two years and will result in approximately $2.3 million in new tax revenue from sales of marijuana for medical use.
Evers aims to establish a tax structure that would allow small marijuana growers to make money, instead of a scenario where large pharmaceutical companies would monopolize the industry.
Evers said this last month: “I think the last thing the people of Wisconsin want as it relates to marijuana is that it eventually devolves into Pfizer running (the market). I want it to be set up in a way that people in the state of Wisconsin feel comfortable that they can make some money by doing this work without having to essentially go broke.”
His plan would require all marijuana sold for medical uses to be grown in Wisconsin, and cultivation limited to 12 plants.
Voters supported legalization of marijuana in referendums held in 16 counties during the November general election.
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