Wisconsin Gov. Talks Pot Legalization

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) released details about his plan to enact far-reaching marijuana reforms in the state on Monday. Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate in the country for Black men, and drug-related offenses make up as much as 75-85% of inmate populations.

By decriminalizing marijuana, we’ll begin to address racial disparities and cycles of poverty in communities across our state.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 18, 2019

As part of a budget proposal set to be formally submitted to lawmakers later this month, the governor is calling for medical cannabis legalization and the elimination of penalties for low-level marijuana possession, manufacturing and distribution for amounts less than 25 grams. People with past cannabis convictions could apply to have their records expunged.

Watch the governor’s press conference announcing his marijuana plan below:

Evers said during a press conference that the proposal calls for decriminalization—instead of outright legalization—because the administration is “starting with places that we feel we can win.”

“I believe that there are Republicans out there that feel confident that this is something that’s important—not only around the issue of medical marijuana but also decriminalizing small amounts,” he said. “It connects the dots with our efforts that we’re going to be having going forward around the issue of criminal justice reform. We feel it’s a good starting place.”

Evers also emphasized that this is not the “ending point” for discussions about adult-use legalization.

“But it’s a great starting place because it’s going to help people who need additional resources at their disposal to take care of pain and other issues that they might have,” he said. “And it’s a good place to start to make sure that we’re having fairness in our criminal justice system.”

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