The governor of Wisconsin’s newly announced proposal to legalize marijuana in the state is already getting significant pushback from leaders in the Republican-controlled legislature. But some members have signaled an interest in enacting more modest cannabis reforms such as decriminalization or allowing medical cannabis.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) said on Sunday that he will be including a full legalization plan in his 2021-23 budget request next week. It’s a step up from his 2019 proposal that called for legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing simple possession—which the GOP Assembly and Senate killed at the time.
But while the governor has evolved on the issue, Senate President Chris Kapenga (R) said on Wednesday that adult-use legalization is a non-starter with the GOP-controlled legislature.
“The legalization of recreational marijuana is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites,” Kapenga said in a press release on Wednesday. “There are serious health and societal issues that need to be understood, and Governor Evers shouldn’t sacrifice the safety of the people of Wisconsin—particularly our children—in pursuit of the mighty dollar.”
The Governor is adamant we follow science when it comes to COVID-19 but turns a blind eye when it comes to legalizing a drug that has no FDA approval—which all other medicines are subject to. What happened to the honorable goal of keeping the people of Wisconsin & our kids safe?
— Sen. Chris Kapenga (@SenatorKapenga) February 10, 2021
“The Governor is adamant we follow science when it comes to COVID-19 but turns a blind eye when it comes to legalizing a drug that has no FDA approval—which all other medicines are subject to,” he said. “What happened to the honorable goal of keeping the people of Wisconsin and our kids safe?”
GOP lawmakers might not be willing to budge on adult-use marijuana for now,