Republicans, in control the Wisconsin Legislature’s powerful budget-writing committee, have again blocked a Democratic attempt to legalize marijuana for medical use.
The GOP on Wednesday again stripped a provision legalizing medical marijuana from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ 2021-23 budget. They’d removed the same provision last month as the party erased hundreds of his proposals from the spending, reports Fox 6 Milwaukee.
Democrats on the budget committee had introduced a motion Wednesday that would legalize medical Cannabis. The motion would provide the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection with roughly $185,000 per year to regulate the herb.
‘The sky has not fallen’
Rep. Evan Goyke, a Milwaukee Democrat, told lawmakers the “sky has not fallen” in other states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
“Stop running from this debate,” Goyke said.
Rep. Goyke said that Wisconsin is becoming “more and more of an island” as neighboring states adopt new cannabis laws. He framed the medical marijuana measure as “an attempt at compromise” with Republicans who oppose broader adult-use legalization.
But Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Howard Marklein, a Republican, ruled the motion was out of order since the committee had already cut the provision from the budget.
This action comes one month after the same panel first voted to scrap Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) marijuana proposals — including both recreational and medical legalization — from the budget.
The marijuana measures were among nearly 400 provisions that were marked for elimination by the GOP-controlled panel, reports Marijuana Moment.
Gov. Evers released details of his proposed Cannabis reform legislation through his budget request in February. It would allow adults 21 and older, or qualifying patients, to purchase, possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Residents could possess up to two ounces of marijuana, while out-of-state visitors could have up to one quarter-ounce. Adults could grow up to six plants for personal use.
‘The will of the people is the law of the land’
This is the second time that Evers has included marijuana reform in his budget request only to have that provision removed by the GOP-led legislature.
The governor held a virtual town hall event in April where he discussed the Cannabis proposal. At that event, Evers emphasized that polling demonstrates that Wisconsin residents back the policy change.
“In one of the rooms I work in at the Capitol, on the ceiling it says: ‘The will of the people is the law of the land,’” Evers said, “and I take that seriously. When people are passing referenda to say, ‘We believe that we should have recreational marijuana and/or medicinal marijuana,’ that’s what we should do as legislators and as leaders in the executive branch.”
Prior to that event, Gov. Evers released a video where he complained about hearing from the governor of neighboring Illinois. Legal sales launched there in January 2020.
“Frankly I’m kind of tired of talking to the governor from Illinois,” Evers said. “Whenever I get with him, he thanks me for having Wisconsinites cross the border to buy marijuana,” the governor explained.