On Wednesday, Wisconsin lawmakers filed legislation for decriminalizing marijuana possession. The two democratic representatives together with Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, who supported the change in policy, held a press conference on the same day to announce the legislation.
Currently, the possession of marijuana in the state is punishable by six months in jail or a fine of $1,000. The legislation which would decriminalize possession of up to 28 grams of weed in Wisconsin was introduced by Democratic Representatives David Crowley and Sheila Stubbs.
In a press release, Crowley said that the war on marijuana possession laws is the reason behind massive mass incarceration in the U.S. The bill should have been approved years ago, he added.
He further said that the state should pass the decriminalization bill to prevent mass incarceration. The war on marijuana has a devastating effect on minority groups, especially for people of color. Crowley further said that the war on drugs and incarceration has led to the destruction of a generation of men and women.
The proposed legislation also mandates the state department of justice to facilitate the expungement of past convictions for marijuana possession.
People should understand the difference between decriminalization and legalization, said the Democratic Senator, Fred Risser. He further said that by decriminalizing cannabis, people found with small amounts of marijuana should not be arrested. However, manufacturing and selling marijuana will be illegal.
In support of the legislation is the Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, who has added it and medical marijuana legalization as part of his budget proposal at the beginning of the coming year. However, Republican leaders argued for the removal of the decriminalization provisions from the marijuana reform plan.
The majority of the state senate are Republicans, and since most of them are opposed to marijuana reforms, supporters of the decriminalization bill should expect resistance. The Senate Majority Leader, Scotts Fitzgerald goes on to say he is a staunch opposer of marijuana reforms, and he is sure that fellow Republicans in the Senate will not support any marijuana legalization bill being tabled on the floor.
According to his spokesperson, the Assembly Speaker, who is a Republican, is also against the decriminalization of marijuana. However, he supported access to medical marijuana by patients, but he stipulated that the medicine be available in pill form.
The residents of Wisconsin are ready for marijuana reforms; however, it is unclear if the decriminalization legislation will be passed into law.
It is widely believed that the entire marijuana industry, including players like Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) would be happy to see marijuana reforms implemented in Wisconsin and everywhere else across the nation.
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