2015-2016 session underway; proposal to tax and regulate marijuana unveiled
Last update: January 21, 2016
The second half of Wisconsin’s 2015-2016 legislative session is underway, and two positive marijuana-related bills are pending. The first would legalize marijuana for adults, while the second would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
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.
In addition to Rep. Sargent’s legalization bill, a proposal to replace the criminal penalty for possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana with a less severe civil fine was jointly introduced by Rep. Mandela Barnes in the Assembly and Sen. Chris Larson in the Senate.
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.
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.