WISCONSIN – Democratic legislators in Wisconsin have unveiled a proposal that seeks to legalize adult-use cannabis and establish a well-regulated cannabis industry, according to a report by Forbes.
The proposed legislation, presented at a Wisconsin hemp farm, would permit adults aged 21 and older to use and possess up to five ounces of cannabis. Criminal penalties for possession by those under 21 would be replaced with fines, and felony charges for possessing more than five ounces would be eliminated.
“I’ve said this time and time again – we know that the most dangerous thing about cannabis in Wisconsin is that it remains illegal,” says Sen. Melissa Agard, the state’s Senate Democratic Leader. “For the past decade, I have worked to undo Wisconsin’s antiquated and deeply unjust marijuana policies and put our state on a prosperous path forward.”
Agard and Rep. Darrin B. Madison emphasize the racial inequities of marijuana prohibition, citing an ACLU report that found Black individuals in Wisconsin were disproportionately charged with marijuana offenses in 2018. The bill aims to provide relief to those with prior marijuana convictions that would be legalized, including expunging records.
“Legalizing cannabis is a matter of public safety and racial justice here in Wisconsin. People in Wisconsin indulge in cannabis use, and deserve the ability to buy safe cannabis and use it responsibly without being criminalized,” said Madison.
Additionally, the bill establishes a framework for regulated production, distribution, and sales of marijuana and cannabis products, allowing for cannabis consumption lounges with local control.
For the bill to become law, it must gain approval from Wisconsin’s Republican-majority legislature, which has been resistant to cannabis reform thus far. Despite this, Democrats argue that the majority of Wisconsinites support adult-use cannabis legalization and believe it’s time for the state to embrace the economic and social benefits of ending prohibition.