Legislature adjourns without acting on marijuana reform
Last update: September 12, 2016
Medical Marijuana and Adult Use Legalization and Regulation
Several marijuana policy reform bills — both modest and far-reaching — were introduced during Wisconson’s 2015-2016 legislative session, but none received a floor vote.
State Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) once again introduced legislation that would have legalized and regulated the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older and created a medical marijuana program for seriously ill residents of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, this legislation failed to pass through the committee process.
Legislators also considered efforts to expand Wisconsin’s limited medical cannabis law, which only allows a non-psychoactive component of marijuana — cannabidiol. Those, too, fell short.
Legislative change often takes several years, so don’t give up the fight. Ask your lawmakers to support a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. Meanwhile, 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.
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. This bill also stalled during the committee process.
Currently, 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.
Contact us: Let us know if you’d like to be involved in the fight for sensible marijuana policy in Wisconsin by emailing [email protected].
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