News and Trends / Legal Marijuana

Wisconsin Governor Backs Effort to Decriminalize Marijuana

The governor is a cancer survivor who favors access to medical cannabis.
Wisconsin Governor Backs Effort to Decriminalize Marijuana
Image credit: Scott Olson | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community.
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There’s a Democrat in the governor’s mansion in Wisconsin and, perhaps unsurprisingly, that has led to a swift change in the government’s approach to legalizing marijuana -- that is to say, now they are actually for it.

Newly elected Gov. Tony Evers announced this month a proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Wisconsin and, at the same time, make medical marijuana legal. Scott Walker, the former Republican governor who Evers defeated in the November 2018 election, opposed legalizing marijuana.

Evers, a cancer survivor, said he well knows the side effects that cancer patients suffer, both from the disease and the treatment. He said in a news release that  “people shouldn’t be treated as criminals for accessing a desperately needed medication that can alleviate their suffering.”

Related: New Jersey Inches Closer to Legalizing Marijuana Without Voter Referendum

Marijuana in the Midwest

If it happens, Wisconsin will join Upper Midwest neighboring states Minnesota and Illinois in making cannabis legal for medical use. In Michigan, where medical marijuana is already legal, voters approved marijuana for recreational use in the November election.

Currently, Wisconsin law calls for a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months for possession of marijuana when it’s a first-time offense. The new proposal would decriminalize marijuana “possession, manufacturing or distribution” for 25 grams or less.

Importantly, the proposal would also block local jurisdictions from establishing ordinances that make possession of less than 25 ounces illegal. That avoids the potential for a patchwork of laws on cannabis possession across the state.

Evers, in the news release, specified that marijuana would need to be prescribed by a physician or a practitioner “under the direction of a physician.” Cannabis would be allowed to alleviate the symptoms related to various medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizure, glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Related: Cannabis Social Equity Programs Are Imperfect but Critically Important

Voters Voice Approval

Evers undoubtedly felt emboldened by the results of the 2018 election. A host of referendums on whether to legalize marijuana were on the ballot in 16 counties and two cities. Wisconsin voters approved every one of them. As noted by the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, the state’s voters were closely divided on who should be governor, but “they agree in overwhelming numbers on pot.”

Part of the reason is that minorities face a much higher chance of getting arrested for marijuana possession than whites. The news released reported that Wisconsin “has the highest incarceration rate in the country for Black men.”

Evers added, “Too many people, often persons of color, spend time in our criminal justice system just for possessing small amounts of marijuana. That doesn't make our communities stronger or safer."

To stay up to date on the latest marijuana-related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook

By Javier Hasse
From retailers to growers, producers, and suppliers, there’s a seemingly never-ending list of startup opportunities in this emerging market. In Start Your Own Cannabis Business, marijuana, biotech, and entrepreneurship reporter Javier Hasse introduces forward-thinking entrepreneurs like you to the industry and shares hard-earned tips and success stories from pioneers and visionaries in the marijuana industry.
Learn More

Latest on Green Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any article to save to your queue.

Podcasts episodes coming soon for GreenEntrepreneur.com

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to Queue next to any podcast episode on Entrepreneur.com to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). The table below describes in more detail the data being collected. By giving your consent below, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Cookie Policy.

Name Category
Google Ad Serving, Ad Targeting, Analytics/Measurement, Optimisation
Rubicon Ad Serving
Teads Ad Serving
Nativo Ad Serving
Teads Ad Serving
New Relic Analytics/Measurement
Log Entries Analytics/Measurement
Sailthru Content Customization