State lawmakers weigh in on Evers’ budget proposal to include legalizing recreational marijuana

Lawmakers across Wisconsin are voicing their opinions again on the topic of legalizing marijuana in our state.
Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 5:01 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Lawmakers across Wisconsin are voicing their opinions again on the topic of legalizing marijuana in our state.

On Sunday Governor Evers once again proposed legalizing marijuana, this time including the initiative for recreational use and investing a portion of that revenue in equity initiatives and for rural schools. His last budget, stripped of this proposal only included medicinal use and decriminalizing recreational use.

Click here to learn more about the proposal.

New into politics, democratic representatives Kristina Shelton of Green Bay and Lee Snodgrass of Appleton both applauded the move.

“This is an economic issue, this is an agricultural issue, this is an issue to do with the criminal justice issue, and a medical and health issue as well,” said Rep. Snodgrass.

The governor’s proposal says it’s a chance to bring in more $165 million annually. The governor suggests setting aside $80 million to reinvest in equity initiatives and rural schools and the rest into the state’s general fund.

On the other side of the aisle republicans admit many of them have changed their minds about only allowing marijuana for medicinal use, and think the issue needs to be taken up outside the budget with more time to consider the impact.

“Maybe marijuana isn’t addictive, but the money that comes from it certainly will be, and if we’re going to have this toothpaste come out of the tube we certainly must be aware that’s never going back in, so the legislature has been and I think appropriately so, thoughtful and slow with this process,” said David Steffen (R-Howard).

Some republicans, including Steffen think the governor is playing politics but do acknowledge the strain on the criminal justice system when it comes to cannabis.

Republican Shae Sortwell of Two Rivers for example is working on a bill to decriminalize small quantities of pot possession.

Governor Evers will introduce his budget next Tuesday.

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