Last Update: April 14, 2015
2015-2016 session underway; proposal to tax and regulate marijuana unveiled
The 2015-2016 legislative session is underway in Madison, and legislation that seeks to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol is the first marijuana policy related bill out of the chute.
State Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has once again introduced legislation that seeks to regulate the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older. If successful, Wisconsin would join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska in recognizing that marijuana is safer for both consumers and non-consumers alike when it is tested, labeled, produced, and sold by regulated and tax-paying businesses. If you are a resident of the Badger State, please take a minute to write your lawmakers and ask them to support this proposal.
Legislation to tax and regulate marijuana for adults is among a handful of marijuana policy related bills we expect will be introduced this year. Reports indicate that a proposal to replace the criminal penalty for marijuana possession with a less severe civil fine is in the works, and we anticipate that legislation creating a comprehensive and operable medical marijuana program will be introduced in the coming months.
If you are a patient with a serious medical condition who could benefit from medical cannabis, the loved one of a patient, or a supportive medical professional, please email [email protected] to get involved. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code, so we can determine who your legislators are. Finally, if you have been arrested for marijuana possession, been denied a job or housing because of marijuana use, or have otherwise been a victim of the current marijuana laws and you would like to help reform them, please let us know.
The legal status of marijuana in Wisconsin
An individual in Wisconsin convicted of mere possession of less than an ounce of marijuana faces a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000! Ask your legislators to support legislation that replaces the threat of jail time and the disastrous criminal record that accompanies a criminal conviction for marijuana possession with a simple civil fine. This simple policy change would allow law enforcement to focus on violent crimes. It would also help reduce the consequences of alarming racial disparities in marijuana enforcement. According to the ACLU, African Americans in Wisconsin are almost six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as their white neighbors are.
You can also ask your elected officials to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and to regulate it like alcohol.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Wisconsin, you can contact MPP at [email protected]. Also, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service today if you haven't done so already.