Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill
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Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

A group of Democratic state legislators announced the legislation at a dispensary in South Beloit, Ill.

August 11, 2021

A group of Democratic state lawmakers in Wisconsin gathered at a dispensary in South Beloit, Ill., Aug. 10 to announce the introduction of a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison) were joined by Beloit City Council President Clinton Anderson and Rock County District 15 Supervisor Yuri Rashkin at the Sunnyside dispensary in South Beloit to introduce the legislation, which the sponsors said would generate new tax revenue for the state and address the racial inequities of cannabis prohibition, according to a Beloit Daily News report.

Spreitzer, Bowen and Agard estimated that an adult-use cannabis market in Wisconsin could generate $160 million in annual tax revenue, and the legislation would earmark 60% of this revenue for a community reinvestment fund to support communities that were most disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

“However you feel about cannabis use, keeping it illegal isn’t helping anything. It’s only hurting. The people of Wisconsin are ready for legalization,” Spreitzer said when the trio of lawmakers unveiled the bill, according to Beloit Daily News.

The legislators referenced cannabis tax revenue in Illinois, the news outlet reported, which hit another record in July when the state’s dispensaries reported $127.8 million in adult-use sales.

The legalization bill will be circulated in the coming weeks in the hopes of picking up co-sponsors, the Beloit Daily News reported, although Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Legislature largely remains opposed to the full legalization of cannabis.

RELATED: Cannabis Legalization Discussions Continue to Heat Up in Wisconsin Following Gov. Tony Evers’ Budget Proposal

Gov. Tony Evers, however, supports legalization, and included a proposal to legalize medical and adult-use cannabis in his state budget earlier this year. Evers’ plan immediately received pushback from lawmakers and was ultimately cut from the final budget.