Wisconsin's Push for Citizen's Ballot an Avenue to Legalize Marijuana

  1. Wisconsin Cannabis
  2. Wisconsin's Push for Citizen's Ballot an Avenue to Legalize Marijuana

Wisconsin governor Tony Evers continues pushing for cannabis legalization urging lawmakers to open the doors and let the voters decide on the matter. His latest move was to sign an order to hold a special legislative session on the matter. The goal of the session was to start introducing relevant amendments to the Constitution so that the issue could be put to the ballot through a referendum.

In the past, the legislators repeatedly rejected the reforms. In January 2022 Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, introduced a bill to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. However, the plan did not succeed. The legislature adjourned the 2022 session without holding a hearing.

Despite legislators’ opposition, the polls show that the natives of Wisconsin have a different view. One of the latest revealed that 69% is for the legalization of cannabis. It also proved that both Republicans and Democrats are for it to be legal. Among the respondents, 51% of Republicans and 75% of Democrats favor legalization.

Although there is no statewide citizen vote, the activists managed to put the process for the ballot in some cities and counties. It was a non-binding initiative. However, it showed that voters support using marijuana for recreational purposes. Moreover, in at least half a dozen cities the locals will answer if they want to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis in November. As the measures are non-binding, they would not push for direct changes in laws but would be a message to the legislators.

One of the supporters of the governor’s position is Senator Melissa Agard. She is one of the sponsors of the legalization bill. The Senator has introduced the bill several times so far but it did not even have a public hearing. She said it would potentially bring an additional $166 million to the state budget for the first fiscal year. Later in October Agard took to Twitter urging to follow suit of Oklahoma voters and decide on recreational marijuana. “Wisconsinites are ready!” she tweeted.

At the meeting with the students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Governor Evers also stressed the importance of the referenda. He said any reform could be achieved only if people could make their voices heard in November. The governor is confident that the state would benefit from a regulated adult-use market. He added that other states, like Illinois, have doubled their revenue thanks to this market.

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