Lawmakers and organizations react to Gov. Evers' marijuana proposals

    The governor, along with state lawmakers, held a press conference in Madison Feb. 18, 2019, proposing to decriminalize marijuana in his plan for the next state budget. (WLUK)

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Governor Tony Evers announced a plan to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin Monday.

    His proposal would also decriminalize small amounts of pot for personal use.

    “It’s time for Wisconsin to join the 30 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana and ensuring access to CBD oil in Wisconsin,” Evers said.

    Gov. Evers says it’s time for Wisconsin to hop onboard with other states, but some Republican lawmakers aren’t ready to follow suit just yet.

    “The proposal is still pretty fresh,” said Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna). “We haven’t seen any language exactly how we would accomplish that, so we’ll probably have more comment later in the week as we get a chance to digest what he’s proposing.”

    Treasurer for Northern Wisconsin National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Jay Selthofner said he was hoping to see more support on the part of Republicans.

    “Although I’m excited to hear Governor Evers talk about these things, I would’ve been more excited to see at least one Republican standing amongst their colleagues at an important crossroads like this for our state,” he said.

    Evers announced his budget will include a few proposals, involving marijuana, with the first being the legalization of it for conditions including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

    “People shouldn’t be treated like criminals for accessing medicine that can change or maybe even save their lives,” Evers said.

    This program would be the first of its kind in Wisconsin and would be regulated by the state’s health and agriculture departments.

    “A medical marijuana program that allows compassionate-use is way overdue in Wisconsin,” Selthofner said.

    Evers also wants to allow Wisconsin residents to sell or possess marijuana in amounts of 25 grams or less, as well as align state laws on CBD oil with federal standards.

    “Governor Evers didn’t really run on decriminalization, so it’s kind of new to us, something we’ll have to take a look at,” Steineke said.

    In addition, the plan would wipe criminal records clean for those convicted of carrying or selling 25 grams or less.

    “This not the first step, and this is certainly not the last step that we’re going to see Wisconsin cannabis reform morph into a different animal than what we even see today, and those are good things,” said Selthofner.

    Rep. Steineke said it’s more about the language Evers’ introduces in the proposals and how that plays out.

    “Medical marijuana is something I think there’s some support for amongst individuals but, the devil’s in the details on how that works out,” Steineke said.

    Recreational use of pot is now legal in ten states, and the District of Columbia.

    Michigan became the most recent.

    Voters approved the measure in November.

    There are 33 states and the District of Columbia that allow medical marijuana use.

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