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Democratic representative to reintroduce legislation to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin

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Marijuana (Getty Images)

MADISON — A Democratic state representative will hold a news conference Thursday morning, April 18 to “reintroduce legislation to fully legalize marijuana in the State of Wisconsin.”

Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) will be joined by Democratic state lawmakers and community advocates at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Assembly Parlor at the Capitol, according to a news release.

She has announced similar legislation in the past.

Rep. Sargent in 2017 announced legislation that would’ve included employment and benefit protections for marijuana users. It would have also required insurance coverage for medical marijuana for those with terminal illnesses. At that time, Sargent said the revenue from taxing cannabis sales could have been used to help address a growing budget deficit.

The 2017 announcement marked the third time a marijuana legalization bill was proposed in the state.

Governor Tony Evers’ budget proposal includes proposals to legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, establish an expungement procedure for individuals who have completed their sentence or probation for possession and align Wisconsin’s laws on cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, with federal standards. Governor Evers said it’s time to support people like Acheson by legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin, and  join more than 30 other states and the District of Columbia.

Under the governor’s proposal, a physician or a practitioner under the direction of a physician can recommend the use of medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms related to medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures.

The governor also wants to align Wisconsin’s laws on cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, with federal standards. CBD oil is made from marijuana and can be used to treat seizures in children. Currently, Wisconsin law requires families to possess CBD oil only with yearly certification by a physician. The governor believes that families and individuals should be able to obtain this treatment without additional barriers.

Gov. Evers also wants to decriminalize possession, manufacturing or distribution of marijuana for amounts of 25 grams or less. This language would also prevent localities from establishing their own ordinances or penalties for possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana. The governor’s plan would also establish an expungement procedure for individuals convicted of possessing, manufacturing or distributing less than 25 grams of marijuana who have completed their sentence or probation.

According to a Marquette University Law School poll released on April 10, 59% of voters said marijuana use should be legal, while 36% said it should not be legal. A substantial majority, 83%, said use of marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s prescription should be legal, with 12% saying it should not be.

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