Legislation announced last month was officially filed yesterday in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Senate Bill 486 was filed with 36 cosponsors, far more than the average. 10 of the cosponsors are senators, and 26 are state representatives. All are Democrats.
Under the proposed law, those 21 and older would be allowed to purchase, possess and use up to five ounces of dried marijuana, and they could grow up to 12 plants at a private residence. The bill would establish a system of licensed, regulated and taxed marijuana retail outlets. There would be a 15% excise tax on marijuana producers and a 10% excise tax on marijuana retailers and lounges, with 60% of tax revenue going to the general fund.
Senate Bill 486 would exempt medical marijuana sales from any taxes.
“Today, [State Representative Darrin Brian Madison Jr.] and I are introducing a bill to fully legalize cannabis for responsible, adult usage in the State of Wisconsin”, Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard said in a social media post last month. “The people of this state know that antiquated prohibition policies are failing. It’s time to #LegalizeIt in Wisconsin once and for all.”
Agard continues; “Folks, the most dangerous thing about cannabis is that it is illegal. Legalizing and taxing cannabis in Wisconsin — just like we already do with alcohol — regulates an already existing illicit market and creates safer communities.”
Representative Agard went on to point out that Wisconsin is surrounded by states that have legalized marijuana.
“Wisconsin is quite literally an island of prohibition and people are spending their hard-earned dollars in our neighboring states”, she said. “It’s time we change that narrative, create opportunity in Wisconsin, and legalize #cannabis.”
According to a legislative report released earlier this year, Wisconsin residents in 2022 spent well over $100 million on marijuana products purchased legally in Illinois, despite marijuana remaining illegal in Wisconsin.