Bipartisan Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Filed in Wisconsin Legislature

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers in Wisconsin have announced bicameral legislation aimed at decriminalizing marijuana possession.

State Representatives Shae Sortwell (R) and Sylvia Ortiz-Velez (D), along with Senator Lena Taylor (D), have announced new legislation that would make the personal possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana no longer a criminal offense.

Under current law the possession of even one gram of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor charge and up to six months in jail, with subsequent charges a potential felony. Under this new bill, possessing up to 14 grams would be, at most, an $250 fine.

The proposed law would allow cities to set their own fine for possessing marijuana, but it could not be less than $100 or more than $250.

Last month companion bills to fully legalize marijuana were filed in the House and Senate. Assembly Bill 506 was filed with 36 cosponsors, led by State Representative Darrin Madison, and it has been assigned to the Committee on State Affairs. Companion measure Senate Bill 486 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Both measures would legalize the personal possession of up to five ounces of marijuana for everyone who is at least 21 years old. The personal cultivation of up to six marijuana plants would also be allowed. According to a fiscal note for the bills, the state would garner around $166 million in annual tax revenue if it was passed into law.

Last month Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) announced this that he was issuing dozens of additional pardons to those convicted for marijuana-related charges.

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