Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-01-14 09:52:09 –
The end of the marijuana ban is imminent. Wisconsin is still lagging behind, as cannabis-backed Democrats dominate the White House, with a majority in the House and Senate. Governor Tony Evers’ future budget may be a way to get out of the increasingly short list of states that badgers refuse to enter the 21st century.
In an interview with Milwaukee Journal SentinelEvers has revealed that it is considering including legalization of recreational marijuana in its next budget from July 2021 to June 2023. He cites the desire to increase state revenues and reforms criminal justice, especially in relation to (the lack of) racial justice in Wisconsin. This isn’t the first time Evers has tried to force cannabis reform through a budget. In 2019, he tried to legalize medical marijuana that way, but Republican-controlled parliament shot it down in a final bill. This year, Tony Evers has a chance to work harder and he seems willing to be bolder, which is what Wisconsin needs.
Marijuana bans have always been a source of systematic racism, as black Americans are searched and arrested at dramatically higher rates than whites, despite similar usage rates. In states that have legalized adult marijuana, additional state revenues from regulated legal marijuana amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. Colorado, which has about the same population as Wisconsin, has earned more than $ 1 billion from legitimate weed sales since 2014. Such income is urgently needed in the COVID economy.
Cannabis illegality is counterproductive
“There are many reasons why cannabis should be legal,” says Andrew Heissel of the Wisconsin Cannabis Society. “It’s misclassified. Many states recognize that cannabis has many medical uses … it’s a rooted cultural prejudice that takes some time to deal with.
“Support for legalization spans all political demographics and all economic categories, and that’s why it’s not yet legal is this remaining cultural prejudice against it,” he adds. In 2018, nearly one million voters voted in favor of reforming cannabis law when 16 Wisconsin counties and two cities led a non-binding referendum on the legalization of marijuana. None of the counties or cities saw less than 60% of the votes in favor of legal cannabis, even the bright red ones. In Racine County, which went to Donald Trump in the last presidential election, 84.8% voted in favor of legalization. Bipartisan support is not the only legal weed support. It is positively overwhelming on both sides of the political spectrum.
However, the Wisconsin State Capitol is still in the way at the request of the Republicans, who insisted that the 2020 Platform reject all forms of cannabis reform.
“In general, there is just a break between what people want and what their elected officials are doing,” he laments. He refused to see this issue from a Democratic and Republican perspective, and he “vs. the status quo” between those who hold the prejudice of anti-weed culture and those who have sufficient knowledge to overcome it. I like to see it as a matter of “reform”. If there is a way ahead, he says, it will be by spreading awareness about the legalization of cannabis, especially the benefits it can bring to states like Wisconsin.
“The Governor has a unique opportunity to include full legalization in the 2021 budget. This is a big step forward for the state and Congress has a great opportunity to promote the state’s economy this year.” Hysell says. “One of the biggest beneficiaries of marijuana legalization in Colorado was the real estate industry, because there are all these opportunities to generate revenue from these new entities. Temperature and humidity to grow marijuana. The HVAC business is booming because it needs to be coordinated. It is growing and creating new jobs to support the business and pay the living wages. We are on the business of Wisconsin. We hope that profits will recognize these opportunities and ask legislators to support them. “
While some are afraid of the idea that cannabis is a drug, legalizing cannabis, as with the myriad of other legal substances that can be abused, regulates, carefully monitors, and relates to cannabis. It means ensuring the quality and safety of all. He sees growing support for reform, even in the legislature.
“Many things have changed since our last budget. Since 2019, Michigan and Illinois, and our northern neighbor Canada, have legalized adult cannabis. They are their own residents alone. We also benefit a lot from the Wisconsins who buy marijuana across borders. How long will we continue to rob this state of income? “
What if Evers didn’t promote legalization through a budget this summer? Given the new composition of federal administration and legislature, if Wisconsin lawmakers remain stubborn, cannabis law could be reformed in the federal government before our state acts. In that case, Andrew Hysell estimates that we would be “a kind of puzzle”. Other states have already established industries and are more capable of defeating us. “
He continues. “Michigan was already in medical care and had time to worry about the problem. It took more than a year to create regulations for adults. What happens is all of these other things. The state is ready when regulations, safety procedures, fairness planning, authorization processes, etc. are all settled and federal legalized. Wisconsin is not ready. Why are we ours? I don’t know if business or farmers will do it. “