Governor Tony Evers announced Monday morning plans to include proposals creating a medical marijuana system and the decriminalization of marijuana possession of 25 grams or less in his upcoming state budget request.
“It’s time for Wisconsin to join the more than 30 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana,” Evers said.
Evers said that the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana will help address problems within the state’s criminal justice system.
“We’re spending too much money prosecuting and incarcerating people, and often people of color, for nonviolent crimes related to small amounts of marijuana,” he said.
The plan would also expunge convictions for possession of marijuana under 25 grams if the individual has served his or her sentence or probation in full.
“Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate in the country for black men, and drug-related offenses account for a significant portion of those inmate populations,” Evers said.
At a Wisconsin GOP press conference on criminal justice reform, Local 5 asked area lawmakers from the other side of the aisle about the governor’s proposal.
“Medical marijuana is something I think there’s some support for amongst individuals, but again the devil’s going to be in the details,” said Rep. Jim Steineke.
Rep. Steineke and other Republican leaders said that they have not yet had a chance to study the proposal.
“I’ve certainly talked to law enforcement that has concerns about the increased drugged driving rates or the increased youth-onset in use,” Sen. Andre Jacque said. “But as far as the proposal, I’ll take a look at whatever is put in front of us.”
Evers said the issue of decriminalizing marijuana should not be a partisan issue, based on referendums in 16 counties last November on whether marijuana should be legalized for medical or recreational use, each of which passed.
“Wisconsinites overwhelmingly agree that access to medical marijuana, CBD oil, and decriminalization for small amounts of marijuana are critically important issues, and I believe we can get this done in the budget,” Evers said.
Governor Evers is expected to released his proposed budget on February 28th.