The Wisconsin Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, said during a WisPolitics.com luncheon last week that he will not support medical cannabis legalization in the state without federal reforms.
“If the federal government delists it and it goes through [Food and Drug Administration] testing, then it should be treated like any other drug. If there’s advantages to it, if it helps out people, I have no problem with it as long as a doctor’s prescribing it. But I think that discussion needs to be done at the federal level and not have some rogue state doing it without actual science behind it.” – LeMahieu via WisPolitics
He added that there is not enough support in the state’s Republican caucus for the legalization of either medical or recreational cannabis.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) has said a federal cannabis reforms bill is coming “shortly.”
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had included revenues from broad cannabis legalization in his 2021-2022 budget proposal. On Twitter last week, Evers said he was “tired” of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) thanking him for the added tax revenues derived from Wisconsin residents crossing the border to purchase cannabis in the state. Evers’ plan to legalize cannabis estimated the state would raise $165.8 million per year from industry taxes and fees starting in 2022-2023.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has indicated support for medical cannabis legalization but would prefer the reforms were enacted as standalone legislation rather than through the budget process.
During a radio address last week, Evers said the legalization plan would modify criminal penalties for cannabis-related crimes “to align with legalization and create a process for individuals serving sentences or previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes to have the opportunity to repeal or reduce their sentences for nonviolent minor offenses.”
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