Recreational Cannabis Bill Introduced in Wisconsin

Rep. Melissa Sargent introduced a bill on July 13 to legalize recreational cannabis in Wisconsin. It’s the state’s third attempt to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.

LRB-2457 adds provisions for employee benefits, requires insurance coverage for the terminally ill and adds cannabis to alcohol and tobacco education in schools. The bill would require the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to conduct periodically inspect companies for safe practices and compliance.

Sargent introduced the bill at a press conference at the Capitol building in Madison. “This bill is so much more than legalizing marijuana—it’s about legalizing opportunity and prosperity,” Sargent stated. “The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Wisconsin simply can’t afford to wait any longer—we deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that’s what this bill is.” Sargent added that Gov. Scott Walker hasn’t fulfilled his promise to create 250,000 jobs, yet Colorado is has generated $2.4 billion in economic activity. Wisconsin is currently facing a $1 billion transportation funding deficit.

Adult residents would be able to carry up to two ounces of cannabis and interestingly, non-residents would be able to carry a quarter-ounce. Medicinal patients would be able to carry three ounces. Under the bill, individuals would be able to grow up to six plants for personal consumption.

The 102-page bill outlines licensing and fees. Dispensaries would pay the state an initial licensing fee of $250 plus an annual fee of $5,000. Patients would be listed in a statewide registry after obtaining a medical cannabis card through the state Department of Health Services.

Sargent said she’s never tried cannabis, but that the most dangerous thing about cannabis is its legal status. Rep. Sargent, a mother of four, is a great example of a non-consumer who still has the ability to see the benefit in legalizing recreational cannabis.

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