Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced In The State Behind Everyone Else: WI [Opinion]
Whether or not you are for the legalization of cannabis, one thing is certainly clear. Wisconsin is far behind the curve on cannabis laws. Neighboring states like Illinois and Michigan have already legalized cannabis (or marijunana) for recreational use and medical use. Minnesota has legalized medicinal marijuana, and that's even evolving. Wisconsin has not even passed a law to make medical marijuana legal.
Wisconsin is just one of 11 states that does not have at least a decriminalized status for cannabis. Neighboring Minnesota has decriminalized the plant. CBD is allowed in Wisconsin, but that's as far as the laws go. To be fair, Iowa is on par with Wisconsin laws.
Wisconsin Democrat Melissa Agard has now proposed for the fifth time for legalization of marijuana. Yes, it's already the 5th attempt. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the legislatures traveled to just across the border to make the announcement at a legal dispensary in Illinois. They are proposing that all Wisconsin residents age 21 or older should be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and six plants. There also would be a marijuana registry that would allow medical marijuana users access to cannabis tax free.
Proponents of the legalization say that it will make marijuana safer as it will be regulated and people won't have to go to the black market to get cannabis. They also say that people are buying it anyway in neighboring states, and that Wisconsin is losing out on that tax revenue. It's clear to see that it is happening.
Also according to the Milwaukee JS, 83% of Wisconsinites support at least legal medical marijuana in the state. 59% approve full legalization.
Despite the majority of people in Wisconsin supporting it, it still faces an uphill battle with Wisconsin Republicans who say they don't have enough votes for this to pass.
It's ironic how a state that is known so well for the consumption of alcohol can view cannabis as a dangerous drug. Alcohol related deaths in Wisconsin add up to thousands each year. In 2019 there were 3,099 alcohol related deaths. In Douglas county there were 41.7 alcohol related deaths per 100,000 residents according to the health department.
As far as studies go, there hasn't been a single fatality from marijuana overdose yet. Can it be harmful? Yes in some cases. Being intoxicated while driving is a risk and a worry that many have. Kids getting access to marijuana or accidentally ingesting edibles or gummies is also a risk.
Could there perhaps be hesitancy of legalizing cannabis because it may impact alcohol sales in the state? Some studies have shown that binge drinking decreases in states where marijuana has been fully legalized.
Senator Agard hopes that they can have a debate in the legislative session and ask what people's concerns are about legalization. There is much to discuss and the conversation needs to be had for the state that's behind most others in this department.
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