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Governors Across U.S. Push For Marijuana Reform In 2021 Speeches And Budget Plans

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The new year is already shaping up to be a big one for marijuana reform. And activists and lawmakers are finding allies in governors across the country, with numerous State of the State addresses and budget speeches including calls for legalization.

From New York to New Mexico, top policymakers have signaled that cannabis policy reform is a legislative priority for 2021. To date, at least 11 governors have proactively brought up marijuana in their formal addresses, budget plans or press briefings so far, with more expected to come.

While the governors might not be able to unilaterally enact the reforms they’re seeking, their support for the issue could significantly improve the chances of cannabis policy changes succeeding this year, at least in some states.

Here’s a look at what governors are saying about marijuana policy in 2021: 

Connecticut

Gov. Ned Lamont (D) included a call to legalize cannabis in his annual State of the State address in January, stating that the policy change is “happening all around us” in neighboring states.

“Let’s not surrender these opportunities to out-of-state markets or, even worse, underground markets,” he said.

The governor followed up the next month by including a legalization proposal in his 2021 budget request.

Lamont, who convened an informal work group in recent months to make recommendations on the policy change, said his budget plan will involve establishing a “comprehensive framework for the cultivation, manufacture, sale, possession, use, and taxation of cannabis that prioritizes public health, public safety, and social justice.”

He made a push for legalization in last year’s State of the State speech, too. And he also discussed the proposal in a budget address that year.

Kansas

As lawmakers introduced marijuana reform bills, the governor of Kansas earlier this month unveiled a plan to legalize medical cannabis and use the resulting tax revenue to fund Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Laura Kelly (D) held a press conference to announce her legislation, explaining that it “establishes the regulatory framework for the cultivation, testing, distribution, prescription and purchase of medical marijuana.”

“The introduction of this bill in itself is a win for Kansans, who will benefit from medical marijuana—something that, once again, our neighbors in Oklahoma and Missouri have already recognized and addressed,” she said.

Kentucky

During his State of the Commonwealth address in January, Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Kentucky should pursue cannabis reform.

“Speaking of laws that unduly restrict us from growth and innovation, it is time to legalize medical marijuana,” the governor said during his speech, adding that he also wants to allow sports betting.

Legislation to enact medical cannabis legalization was filed right around the time Beshear made the address.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz (D) talked about the need to legalize marijuana last month as a means to boost the economy and promote racial justice.

During a briefing focused on his budget proposal for the 2022-23 biennium, the governor said he was open to allowing sports betting, but lawmakers should “take a look at recreational cannabis” to increase tax revenue.

Not only would tax revenue from adult-use marijuana “dwarf” those collected through sports betting, he said, but legalization would also help address “the equity issue and, quite honestly, the racial impact of our cannabis laws.”

Walz did not include a request to legalize through his budget, however. Meanwhile, top Minnesota lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this month that would legalize cannabis in the state.

Nevada

The governor of Nevada said last month that his budget proposal contains provisions to keep marijuana tax revenue flowing to schools in the state.

Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) discussed his fiscal plan during a State of the State address, saying it “ensures marijuana tax dollars will continue to fund education, to ensure districts can meet the needs of students during the pandemic and beyond.”

“The 2019 Legislature approved SB 545 which requires the proceeds of the 10% excise tax imposed on recreational sales of marijuana products to be deposited to the [Distributive School Account],” the governor’s budget says. “This new education funding did not offset general fund and was placed in the account as an enhancement. This is continued in the 2021-2023 budget.”

New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said during his State of the State address last month that “we are on the verge of passing an innovative and groundbreaking set of laws to reform our historically unjust approach to marijuana and cannabis.”

Advocates had hoped that the legislature would have moved quicker to approve enabling legislation after voters approved a legalization referendum in November, but disagreements between lawmakers and the governor over certain provisions concerning underaged people have delayed the reform.

New Mexico

During her State of the State speech last month, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) reiterated her commitment to legalizing marijuana in the state in 2021.

The governor discussed cannabis reform as a means to generate needed tax revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic and create jobs, saying a “crisis like the one we’ve experienced last year can be viewed as a loss or as an invitation to rethink the status quo—to be ambitious and creative and bold.”

“That kind of thinking includes, of course, recreational cannabis and the tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in new revenue it will bring to our state,” she said.

Prior to the annual address, Lujan Grisham released an agenda for 2021 that included legalization among a list of legislative priorities.

Lawmakers appear to be going along, with a cannabis legalization bill clearing a House committee this week.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has frequently discussed plans to legalize marijuana through the budget this year.

For the third year in a row, he included the reform proposal in his budget request, and he recently announced that he will be sending an amended version to the legislature in hopes of striking a deal with legislators who were critical of certain provisions of his original proposal.

In his State of the State address last month, the governor said New York “will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 other states who’ve already done so.”

“This will raise revenue and will end the over-criminalization of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated,” he said.

Cuomo first previewed the details of his legalization plan in January during a budget speech.

“We also propose legalizing adult-use cannabis, which would raise about $350 million,” he said, adding that “$100 million would go to a social equity fund. That would still give us $250 million towards the budget and our needs.”

On Tuesday, the governor revealed details of the amended budget plan to legalize marijuana that he sent to the legislature, with new provisions to allow cannabis delivery services and a refined approach to penalties for unlawful sales.

Pennsylvania

The governor of Pennsylvania said earlier this month that marijuana legalization is a priority as he begins annual budget negotiations with lawmakers. However, his formal spending request doesn’t contain any legislative language to actually accomplish the cannabis policy change.

In a supplementary legislative plan for 2021, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that “Pennsylvania has built a successful medical marijuana program through bipartisan work,” and now “it’s time to take the next step and legalize recreational marijuana in the commonwealth with an emphasis on helping businesses and restorative justice.”

Prior to his budget speech, Wolf said in an agenda that enacting the cannabis policy change should be part of the state’s economic recovery and would also promote social equity.

With neighboring states moving toward legalization, he said “Pennsylvania cannot afford to be left behind.”

Virginia

Marijuana prohibition was intentionally set up “generations ago” to discriminate against people of color, the governor of Virginia said last month, calling for legalization to resolve those disparities during a State of the Commonwealth address.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said cannabis criminalization is an example of how “our criminal justice system treats different people unfairly,” adding that Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people despite comparable rates of usage.

The speech came on the same day that the governor unveiled a comprehensive legalization bill, which is being carried by leaders in both the House and Senate

He separately unveiled a budget proposal in December that “lays the groundwork to legalize marijuana” by including millions of dollars to support efforts to expunge cannabis convictions as well as steps to set up the state to eventually implement a system of commercial sales.

“We know that laws to ban marijuana historically were based in discrimination, and criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities,” Northam said in a speech announcing the budget.

Both the House and Senate approved their own versions of the marijuana legalization legislation this month, and now lawmakers are taking steps to reconcile the differences into a single proposal to send to Northam’s desk.

Wisconsin

On Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers (D) unveiled a plan to legalize marijuana as part of his budget proposal.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin—just like we do already with alcohol—ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users,” he said in a statement, “and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state.”

Evers, who first announced he would put legal cannabis in his fiscal request earlier this month, didn’t specifically mention the policy during his budget speech on Tuesday. But the text of the plan as submitted to lawmakers offers an in-depth look at what the program would look like.

The proposal is already getting significant pushback from leaders in the Republican-controlled legislature. But some members have signaled an interest in enacting more modest cannabis reforms such as decriminalization or allowing medical cannabis.

Top New York Lawmaker Says Pass Legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Bill Before Governor Negotiations

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Mississippi Legislature And Heads To Governor’s Desk

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More than 14 months after voters in Mississippi passed an initiative to legalize medical marijuana—a law the state Supreme Court later overturned—Republican-led lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor on Wednesday that would establish a more limited cannabis program for patients, the result of months of negotiations and last-minute changes to a nearly 450-page bill.

Following a conference committee meeting during which lawmakers from the House and Senate approved a change in how certain marijuana businesses would be zoned, both chambers passed the final legislation with veto-proof majorities. The Senate’s tally was 46-4, with one member voting present, and the House cleared the bill on a 103-13 vote.

While the overall bill remains largely the same as an earlier version passed by the Senate this month, amendments made last week in the House reduced the overall monthly amount of cannabis products available to patients and removed the Department of Agriculture and Commerce from oversight of the industry.

“This has been a long journey, and it’s nice to be in a place where everyone is in agreement,” Rep. Lee Yancey (R), who championed the bill in the House, said at Tuesday’s press conference. “It looks like we will finally be able to provide relief to those people with debilitating illnesses who so badly need it. Medical cannabis will now be an option for them as soon as we get the conference report signed and sent to the governor.”

The legislature will next formally transmit the bill to Gov. Tate Reeves (R), who then has five days, excluding Sundays, either to sign it into law or return it with objections. If the governor doesn’t take any action by the deadline, the bill will become law without his signature.

Reeves has been wary of legalization in recent months, at one point threatening to veto a draft bill if it made it to his desk. Since then, proponents in the legislature have worked to balance the voter-approved initiative’s more permissive proposals against the governor’s calls for tighter restrictions.

The governor said last week that the measure has become “better” with every revision and rightly predicted there would be further amendments by the House.

Provided the bill becomes law, dispensaries would be licensed about six months later, meaning Mississippi’s medical cannabis program could be up and running, at least in limited form, by the end of the year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

The bill, SB 2095, draws heavily from provisions negotiated by lawmakers in the second half of last year, as legislative leaders prepared a bill for an anticipated special session last summer that the governor never called. Supporters say the lengthy proposal represents a middle ground between the more permissive plan approved by voters and the narrower approach preferred by Reeves and some lawmakers.

The legislation as now approved by both chambers would allow patients with about two dozen qualifying medical conditions to purchase the equivalent of 3.5 grams of marijuana (or 1 gram of cannabis concentrate) per day, with a maximum monthly limit of 3 ounces. Voters approved a monthly limit of 5 ounces in 2020, and the bill as passed by the Senate last week would have allowed 3.5 ounces, but that was further scaled back by the House earlier this week.

Qualifying conditions under the bill include cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, spastic quadriplegia, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, sickle-cell anemia, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, neuropathy, spinal cord disease or severe injury as well as chronic medical conditions or treatments that produce severe nausea, cachexia or wasting, seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms or chronic pain.

Further conditions could be added later by regulators via petition. State-issued patient registration cards would cost $25, though some people could qualify for a lower price.

Registered patients would be subject to purchase limits that would restrict them to no more than one “medical cannabis equivalency unit” per day, which the bill defines as 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, one gram of concentrate or up to 100 milligrams of THC in infused products. While those limits are significantly lower than in most states where cannabis is legal for medical patients, Reeves said last year the program should allow only half those amounts.

Patients or caretakers would be forbidden from growing their own cannabis under the proposal. Products from state-licensed companies, meanwhile, would be limited to 30 percent THC for cannabis flower and 60 percent for concentrates.

Medical marijuana would be taxed at a wholesale rate of 5 percent, and purchases would also be subject to state sales tax.

While smoking and vaping cannabis is allowed for patients, both would be illegal in public and in motor vehicles. It would still be a crime for patients to drive under the influence.

The advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, which has criticized some of the plan’s limitations compared to the voter-passed initiative, nonetheless called the bill an important step forward for the state.

“Today is an historic day for the patients of Mississippi,” Kevin Caldwell, the group’s Southeast legislative manager, told Marijuana Moment. “We congratulate the legislature for upholding the will of the people, and we call on Gov. Tate Reeves to sign this legislation into law when presented to him.”

The legislation would task the Mississippi Department of Health to oversee the new industry and establish a nine-member advisory committee to make recommendations on issues such as patient access and industry safety.

Previous versions of the bill also tasked the state Commission of Agriculture and Commerce with regulatory duties, but the House removed the agency through an amendment. Commissioner Andy Gipson, who for months had pushed back against the plan, thanked House Speaker Philip Gunn and other lawmakers for making the change in a statement issued last week.

“The best place for a truly medical program is under the Department of Health, which reflects the will of the voters in Initiative 65,” Gipson said, according to SuperTalk Mississippi. “This change is good policy for Mississippi agriculture and allows us to focus on our core mission. It is also good policy for the taxpayers of Mississippi because it achieves greater efficiency in the use of funds by reducing the number of agencies involved in the program.”

Licensing of cannabis businesses other than dispensaries—including cultivators, processors, transporters, disposal entities, testing labs and research facilities—would begin 120 days after the bill’s passage, with the first licenses issued about a month after that. The dispensary licensing process would kick off 150 days after passage, with the first licenses coming a month later.

In general, local governments could not ban medical cannabis businesses outright or “make their operation impracticable,” the bill says, but a separate provision would allow local governments to opt out of the program altogether within 90 days of the bill’s passage. In such cases, citizens could then petition to put the question to a vote.

There would be no limit on the number of licensed businesses under the plan. Cannabis businesses may have to get seek local approval to operate, however, and municipalities can adopt zoning and land use restrictions.

The original Senate bill would have allowed cultivators and processors to be located only in areas zoned for agricultural or industrial use, and the House later added an amendment to let those businesses set up in commercially-zoned area as well, but the Mississippi Municipal League pushed back on the change. The conference committee altered that by saying that the businesses could only operate commercial zones if granted a variance by a local government.

Mississippi voters decisively approved a broad legalization initiative in November 2020, but the state Supreme Court overturned the measure on procedural grounds last May—simultaneously doing away with the state’s entire initiative process.

For much of last year, it appeared lawmakers were set to pass a medical marijuana bill during a special legislative session, but the governor ultimately decided against calling the special session after reaching an impasse with lawmakers. Those who supported legalization said at the time that responsibility for the failure rested with Reeves.

Later that month, Reeves dodged questions from patient advocates about why he’d failed to call the special session. Then in late December, he said on social media that he had “repeatedly told the members of the Legislature that I am willing to sign a bill that is truly medical marijuana,” but stressed that there should be “reasonable restrictions.”

Last week, before the House floor vote, Rep. Lee Yancey (R), who chairs the House Drug Policy Committee and who’s been working on the legislation with Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R), said that he never imagined he’d be in the position to legalize cannabis. But he said he worked to ensure the bill was focused on providing medicine to patients, not paving a route to a recreational program as critics have claimed.

“When I got involved in this bill, I said, ‘How can we build a wall around this program so the people who get it are the people who need it the most, and only the people who need it the most?” Yancey said. “This is not for everybody out on the street. This is not for a bunch of kids. This is for hurting people with debilitating conditions.”

A poll released in June found that a majority of Mississippi voters support legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, with 63 percent saying they want the legislature to pass a bill that mirrors the ballot measure that was nullified by the Supreme Court.

Amazon Endorses GOP-Led Bill To Federally Legalize Marijuana

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Minnesota Governor Puts Marijuana Legalization Funding In Budget Request

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The governor of Minnesota included funding to implement marijuana legalization in his annual budget request to lawmakers on Wednesday—a move that comes while Democratic legislative leaders prepare to advance the reform again this session even as it has stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) has consistently expressed support for the policy change, but he declined to propose putting dollars toward implementation in his last budget request. Now he says he wants funding for multiple programs and departments to launch an adult-use marijuana market in line with a bill that passed the Democratic-controlled House last year.

The governor’s recommended funding for legalization would go to numerous state agencies, including those dealing with education, health, public safety, human services, the state Supreme Court, corrections and more.

The budget “also includes funding for grants to assist individuals entering the legal cannabis market, provides for expungement of non-violent offenses involving cannabis, and implements taxes on adult-use cannabis,” the request says.

“The Governor and Lieutenant Governor know that Minnesota needs modernized solutions to harness the benefits of legalizing cannabis, including expanding our economy, creating jobs across the state, allowing law enforcement to focus on violent crime, and regulating the industry in order to keep our kids safe,” a press release says. “The Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommend funding for the safe and responsible legalization of cannabis for adult-use in Minnesota.”

“A new Cannabis Management Office would be responsible for the implementation of the regulatory framework for adult-use cannabis, along with the medical cannabis program, and a program to regulate hemp and hemp-derived products. The recommendation also includes funding for grants to assist individuals entering the legal cannabis market, additional resources for substance use disorder treatment and prevention, provides for expungement of non-violent offenses involving cannabis, and implements taxes on adult-use cannabis.”

“Prohibiting the use of cannabis in Minnesota hasn’t worked.”

Previously, in 2019, the governor directed state agencies to prepare to implement reform in anticipation of legalization eventually passing.

While advocates are hopeful that the sponsors of that legislation will be able to make revisions and advance it through the House again this year, its prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate are less certain. House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) and Senate Minority Leader Melisa Franzen (D) discussed the legislative strategy for enacting the reform last week.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

“Because of the hard work done by advocates in recent years, legalizing cannabis for adult-use within a regulated market and expungement of past cannabis convictions is now a mainstream idea that has the support of the Minnesota House of Representatives and Governor Tim Walz,” Winkler said in a press release on Wednesday, reacting to the budget proposal.

“Senate Republicans are now the sole barrier preventing Minnesota from legalizing cannabis and expanding adults’ personal freedoms,” he said. “I invite Senate Republicans to collaborate with advocates and lawmakers this year to advance mainstream policies like legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging cannabis convictions.”

Winkler previously said that his bill, which moved through 12 committees before being approved on the floor, is the “product of hundreds of hours of work involving thousands of people’s input, countless hearings and public listening sessions—but it is not a perfect bill.”

“We will be working with our colleagues in the Minnesota Senate,” he added. “We’re interested in pursuing legalization to make sure that the bill represents senators’ priorities for legalization as well.”

Leili Fatehi, campaign manager of Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation, told Marijuana Moment that the governor’s “inclusion of cannabis legalization as a priority in his proposed supplemental budget is directly responsive to the issues Minnesotans care about most right now.”

That includes “the need for more good-paying jobs and more opportunities for Minnesota’s farmers, small businesses, and local economies; the need to expunge the past cannabis records of people who are needlessly shut out of the struggling labor market; the need to free up our public safety and criminal justice systems to focus on real violent crimes and criminals; and the need to undo the decades of harm our prohibition laws have inflicted on our neighbors and communities of color,” Fatehi said.

While legalization wasn’t ultimately enacted last session, the governor did sign a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program, in part by allowing patients to access smokable cannabis products.

A poll conducted by Minnesota lawmakers that was released last year found that 58 percent of residents are in favor of legalization. That’s a modest increase compared to the chamber’s 2019 survey, which showed 56 percent support.

The House majority leader said in 2020 that if Senate Republicans don’t go along with the policy change legislatively, he hopes they will at least let voters decide on cannabis as a 2022 ballot measure.

Governors outside of Minnesota have also been talking up marijuana reform at the start of the new year.

For example, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) released a State of the State book earlier this month that called for the creation of a $200 million public-private fund to specifically help promote social equity in the state’s burgeoning marijuana market. And her budget estimated that New York stands to generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.

The governor of Rhode Island included a proposal to legalize marijuana as part of his annual budget plan—the second time he’s done so. And time around, he also added new language to provide for automatic cannabis expungements in the state.

Wisconsin Republicans Announce Limited Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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Wisconsin Republicans Announce Limited Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

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More than a dozen Republican Wisconsin lawmakers announced on Wednesday that they are filing a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Sen. Mary Felzkowski (R) and Rep. Patrick Snyder (R) are leading the bicameral effort, though advocates are already skeptical considering how the GOP-legislature has historically resisted and blocked cannabis reform. On Tuesday, for example, the Senate passed a bill to increase penalties for people who use butane to extract marijuana resin, and GOP members also shot down an amendment to the measure that would have legalized adult-use cannabis.

The Republican-led medical cannabis legislation is also fairly restrictive, as it prohibits smokable marijuana products and doesn’t allow patients to grow cannabis for personal use. Patients could only obtain cannabis preparations in the form of oils, pills, tinctures or topicals.

What it would do is allow doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations to patients with one of eight conditions, including cancer, seizure disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple sclerosis.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has expressed support for medical cannabis reform, and the lead Senate sponsor said at Wednesday’s press conference that Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) is “more than willing” to hold a hearing on the proposal.

Under the bill, a medical marijuana regulatory commission would be established through the Department of Revenue to promulgate rules for the program in consultation with a medical cannabis advisory board. The commission could add more qualifying conditions.

Licensed processors would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent for “each wholesale sale in this state of medical marijuana to a licensed dispensary,” the text of the bill says. Revenue would go toward a medical marijuana fund to support drug prevention and treatment programs.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

It does not appear that the measure contains equity provisions like expungements that are favored by progressives.

“Currently 36 other states, including our neighbors Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, have passed laws allowing patients with certain medical conditions to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it,” a co-sponsorship memo that Felzkowski and Snyder sent to fellow legislators on Wednesday says. “Medicine is never one-size-fits-all, and it is time for Wisconsin to join the majority of the country in adding another option which may help patients find the relief they need.”

The memo also discusses how voters in multiple cities and counties across Wisconsin have strongly approved local, non-binding ballot referendums expressing support for marijuana reform in recent years.

“Wisconsinites who have discussed the positive benefits of using marijuana for medicinal purposes with their primary care physicians are currently forced to endure pain and physical agony, traffic drugs into Wisconsin and become criminals, or be held hostage by the FDA approved pain killers that may alleviate their pain, but come with a host of side effects that diminish quality of life,” a summary of the proposal says.

This isn’t the only cannabis bill that’s up for consideration in the Wisconsin legislature.

In November, a bipartisan pair of legislators introduced a bill to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession. In August, three senators separately filed legislation to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state.

As it stands, marijuana possession is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for a first offense. People convicted of a subsequent offense would face a felony charge punishable by a maximum $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in prison.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) tried to legalize recreational and medical marijuana through his proposed state budget last year, but a GOP-led legislative committee stripped the cannabis language from the legislation. Democrats tried to add the provisions back through an amendment the next month, but Republicans blocked the move.

Other Republican lawmakers have filed bills to more modestly decriminalize marijuana possession in the state, but none of those proposals advanced during last year’s session.

Evers held a virtual town hall event last year where he discussed his cannabis proposal, emphasizing that polling demonstrates that Wisconsin residents back the policy change.

And in the interim as lawmakers pursue reform, the governor has issued more than 300 pardons during his years in office, primarily to people convicted of non-violent marijuana or other drug offenses.

Colorado Activists File Revised Ballot Initiatives To Legalize Psilocybin And Establish ‘Healing Centers’

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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