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The legislation, unveiled on Friday by Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard and Rep. Darrin B. Madison, would establish a framework for regulated cannabis sales including production and distribution.
Individuals under 21 found in possession of marijuana would no longer face criminal penalties under the new measure. Instead, they would be subject to fines in an effort to shift legal consequences in a more lenient and alternative direction.
Additionally, those caught with over five ounces of cannabis would not face felony charges anymore.
A long-time advocate for cannabis policy reform, Agard said on Friday that "the most dangerous thing about cannabis" is to remain illegal.
"For the past decade, I have worked to undo Wisconsin's antiquated and deeply unjust marijuana policies and put our state on a prosperous path forward," the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
This past spring, Agard promoted the legalization of cannabis through "The Grass Routes Tour." On one of her tour stops, she called Wisconsin an "island of prohibition" while talking about some of the harms of the ban on marijuana.
The lawmakers also touched on the issue of social equity.
"Legalizing cannabis is a matter of public safety and racial justice here in Wisconsin," Madison said. "People in Wisconsin indulge in cannabis use and deserve the ability to buy safe cannabis and use it responsibly without being criminalized."
Meanwhile, Republicans gathered earlier this year to design a medical cannabis program that could stand a chance of getting bipartisan support. In April, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said that the lawmakers working on a new push include only Assembly Republicans. He intends to introduce the medical cannabis measure this fall but remains firmly against legalizing recreational cannabis.
If you want to learn more about the latest regulatory changes in the cannabis space, join us at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference this week in Chicago on Sept 27-28. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis culture, politics, investment and branding.
Photo: Courtesy of Ramdlon, ganjaspliffstoreuk by Pixabay