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Bill LRB-2858 - Wisconsin’s Republican Medical Marijuana (Restricted) Legalization Bill


On Monday, Republican Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a plan to legalize medical marijuana; and it is restrictive, though it could be viewed as a step in the right direction.  In the plan, only people with specific conditions would be allowed access, and smoking of cannabis will not be allowed.  The bill also does not include a tax on medical cannabis products. 


 

Republican Letter to Legislators About Marijuana

 

Rep. Jon Plumer stated “We want to make this available to people, but we want to have tight controls on it as well.”  Controls such as not being able to smoke cannabis, and limiting it to concentrates, tinctures, pills, liquids, and topicals.  Since it is a medical marijuana bill, only those who are diagnosed with certain medical conditions would have access to the products; again - could be seen as a small step in the right direction. 


 

Republican Letter to Legislators About Marijuana

 

Coupled with Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ statements that “We are not going to have something like other states where you can walk in and say, I don’t feel well, and they give you a gummy bear.”  Along with the response to Gov. Evers stating that this bill is a good step towards recreational marijuana, Vos stated “That scares the bejesus out of most of the members of my caucus because we know the wrong thing for Wisconsin is to legalize recreational marijuana.”


Additionally, there will only be 5 Dispensaries that will be run by the State, and cannabis products will be dispensed from pharmacists who are State employees.  Restricting the ability for local and small businesses to develop.


 

Republican Letter to Legislators About Marijuana

 

It is clear that some of our Wisconsin lawmakers do not want to let go of their grasp to be able to control this industry, and continue to restrict cannabis products to the best of their ability.  The proposed bill still would not stop Wisconsinites from traveling to their nearest out of state dispensary (We missed out on $36 Million in tax revenue to Illinois in 2022 - Wisconsin nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau), and the proposition does not answer what 64% of Wisconsin adults have been asking for in a recent poll - access to legal marijuana. Why don't they listen to the people they are supposed to represent?


Again, this is a step in the right direction, but we need to move further away from the old way of thinking and break the stigma overall about cannabis. There is still hope - At the end of 2023 Senator Melissa Agard introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana; see interview here, and last month introduced a proposition to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the State.

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