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Evers faces pushback on marijuana legalization

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Wisconsin (WQOW) – The push continues for the legalization of marijuana as part of Gov. Tony Evers’ Badger Bounceback budget.

The budget includes the legalization of marijuana, both medicinally and recreationally. The proposal would allow Wisconsin residents to possess no more than 2 ounces of marijuana and six plants for personal use. Nonresidents would be able to carry no more than 0.25 ounces of marijuana.

Rep. Jesse James (R-Altoona) said a lack of study and conflict with the federal government is keeping him from approving the proposal.

James claims cases of adverse side effects and crimes committed under the influence in Colorado have him worried.

“There’s been people to where they become into a psychotic state because they’re not used to smoking it, and they get psychosis and then even like murders take place; homicides. So, that stuff that we need to invest in it and you know, it’s still illegal at the federal level. Why is that? Because we haven’t invested in the proper studies and the resources of studying the marijuana and what it can do to the body,” James said.

As for legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes, James said, “it’s a matter of getting everybody on board. I would be a strong, huge advocate for the potential of medical marijuana being passed, as long as it’s passed in the right form. I believe with the pill form out there, it’s called Marinol, that would be an option that I would look at because then you have the capabilities of proper disposal.”

Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) said that the legalization of medicinal marijuana outweighs any issues it poses.

“We have an opioid crisis in this state and in this country that should be like an emergency to legalize medicinal marijuana. This shouldn’t even be any question,” Smith said.

The governor proposed the state regulate drugs similar to how they regulate alcohol. The breakdown of the tax revenue estimate would generate $165 million dollars. Here is the breakdown:

Thirty-six states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana and 17 states are regulating recreational use of marijuana.

The proposal also modifies criminal penalties for marijuana-related crimes.

Individuals serving sentences for previously convicted marijuana-related crimes will also have the chance to repeal or reduce sentences for minor offenses.