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Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Bill Filed by Wisconsin Lawmakers

Arina Paulson

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  • Up To 28 Grams of Marijuana in Possession Would Be Decriminalized With the New Legislation.
  • Rep. David Crowley, one of the sponsors of the bill, stated that these possession laws contribute to the “racially inequitable criminal justice system.”

Wisconsin has consistently positioned itself as an innovator, and the marijuana industry is no different. However, now, lawmakers in the state are pushing for a big change – the decriminalization of marijuana possession.

This legislation was brought to the table by Reps. David Crowley and Shelia Stubbs, and it would allow for up to 28 grams to be possessed, which is equivalent to about an ounce. Presently, anyone caught with marijuana is risking up to six months in jail and may be subjected to a $1,000 fine.

In a press release, Crowley stated,

“The weaponization of drug possession laws, particularly marijuana, has been the driver of the state of ramped mass incarceration in which we find ourselves. This bill should have been passed years ago – Wisconsin is now an island of antiquated drug policy in a sea of decriminalization.”

Crowley also took to Twitter to voice his concerns.

He added that the presence of criminalization laws creates circumstances that “feed mass incarceration,” noting that he’s seen the impact of these laws within the “unjust and racially inequitable criminal justice system.”

Within the legislation, provisions are already outlined to describe the way to expunge or even dismissal of prior convictions. A press conference to announce the legislation by the sponsors was held on Wednesday. The sponsors appeared alongside Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who voiced their support for these changes.

 

One of the other speakers at the event was Sen. Fred Risser, who said that he felt that there’s a need to differentiate between being legal and being decriminalized. He said,

“Decriminalizing marijuana simply means we are asking law enforcement to stop arresting folks for having small amounts of marijuana,” he said. “Under this bill, the manufacture and sale of the drug itself would remain illegal.”

Considering that Gov. Tony Evers recently called to decriminalize low-level possession, while pushing for legalization, it would make sense that he’s supportive of the bill. However, it seems that the reform provisions for marijuana may not be included, if Republicans have anything to do with it.

The Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly will likely provide some resistance to supporters as the bill progresses. After the announcement, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stated,

“I’ve long been an opponent to any type of marijuana legalization and doubt that any proposals currently being floated will gain support from Republicans in the Senate.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is also opposed to decriminalization, according to a spokesperson for the politician.

Though there appears to be some possibility of change, it is clear that the residents of Wisconsin are ready. There are already three jurisdictions in the state that have voiced support for both recreational and medical marijuana to be legalized this year, following the ballot measures in 16 counties in November in favor of cannabis.

Arina has a Master’s degree in Business and lives in Sydney, Australia and is one of our top contributors as a postgraduate qualified writer. While being a Member Of The Appraisal Institute, she focuses her writing efforts on health, home, business, technology and now cannabis/cbd here.

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