Lawmakers in Wisconsin were expected to consider a bill to legalize marijuana this year, however it’ll likely face substantial opposition in the Republican-controlled state Legislature, legal experts have said. Conservative lawmakers rejected a similar bill last legislative session and generally oppose legalization in the state, according to the Badger Herald.
“We have additional challenges in Wisconsin because there is such a partisan divide in the Capitol building,” Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent of Madison, who introduced the bill, told the Badger Herald. Legalizing marijuana, she said, would help lower crime and improve the economy. The law includes a 25 percent excise tax and could pull in an estimated $177 million in tax revenue from legal marijuana sales over two years.
Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Four of those states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, allowing residents to consume pot for any purpose and to grow their own cannabis plants.
Medical marijuana is not allowed in Wisconsin, however Gov. Scott Walker last year signed a bill legalizing a certain cannabis-derived drug for the treatment of seizure disorders in children. When it comes to legalizing marijuana further, Walker said last year that it could be something that “resonates in the future, but I just don’t see any movement for it right now.” Walker has recently said he opposes Sargent’s bill.
Many in Wisconsin law enforcement have mixed feelings about legalizing marijuana in the state and have said that they were looking to other states that have legal weed to see how they’re faring, according to WAOW news. "Alcohol's been legal for years, and I've seen how that's devastated people,” Police Chief Dan Joling of Kronenwetter, in Marathon County, told WAOW. “So could this too? Sure."