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Wisconsin Governor Announces Marijuana Reform Plan Details

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) released details about his plan to enact far-reaching marijuana reforms in the state on Monday.

As part of a budget proposal set to be formally submitted to lawmakers later this month, the governor is calling for medical cannabis legalization and the elimination of penalties for low-level marijuana possession, manufacturing and distribution for amounts less than 25 grams. People with past cannabis convictions could apply to have their records expunged.

Watch the governor’s press conference announcing his marijuana plan below:

Evers said during a press conference that the proposal calls for decriminalization—instead of outright legalization—because the administration is “starting with places that we feel we can win.”

“I believe that there are Republicans out there that feel confident that this is something that’s important—not only around the issue of medical marijuana but also decriminalizing small amounts,” he said. “It connects the dots with our efforts that we’re going to be having going forward around the issue of criminal justice reform. We feel it’s a good starting place.”

Evers also emphasized that this is not the “ending point” for discussions about adult-use legalization.

“But it’s a great starting place because it’s going to help people who need additional resources at their disposal to take care of pain and other issues that they might have,” he said. “And it’s a good place to start to make sure that we’re having fairness in our criminal justice system.”

The proposal would allow patients with certain conditions such as chronic pain or seizures to obtain a medical cannabis recommendation from a physicians. Evers also wants to expand access to CBD products by removing an existing policy that requires a physician’s yearly authorization.

“As a cancer survivor, I know the side effects of a major illness can make everyday tasks a challenge. People shouldn’t be treated as criminals for accessing a desperately-needed medication that can alleviate their suffering,” Evers said in a press release. “Wisconsinites overwhelmingly agree that this is a critically important issue. But it’s not just about access to health care, it’s about connecting the dots between racial disparities and economic inequity.”

Medical cannabis patients would be allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis or up to 12 plants, according to an outline of the proposal distributed by the governor’s office. The plan would also prohibit individuals who’ve been convicted of “various violent felonies” in the last 10 years from becoming registered medical marijuana patients.

Evers said he and Republican leaders will “continue to meet and talk” about his cannabis policy proposals. He pointed to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) as an example of someone who is “open to medical marijuana” and said he “hopes to convince the Senate side of the same.”

The governor’s plan would “prevent localities from establishing their own ordinances or penalties for possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana,” according to the press release from his office.

The outline of the plan also stipulates that neither “marijuana odor” or possession of less than 25 grams “may be used to establish probable cause that a person possesses more than 25 grams of marijuana.”

Evers is expected to submit his budget to lawmakers on February 28.

Separately, the governors of New York and Rhode Island have included adult use marijuana legalization in their budget proposals this year.

Read the outline of Evers’s marijuana reform proposal below: 

Evers Marijuana Proposal Ba… by on Scribd

This piece was updated to include comments from the governor’s press conference and details from a proposal outline.

Wisconsin Governor Puts Marijuana Decriminalization And Medical Cannabis In Budget

Photo courtesy of WFRV Local 5.

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