Democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced legislation that would eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis, according to a Wisconsin Public Radio report.
Under current state law, the first possession offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail, the news outlet reported. A second possession charge is a felony and carries a penalty of up to $10,000 and up to three and a half years in prison.
The new legislation would also create an expungement process to clear cannabis-related convictions involving the possession of less than 28 grams, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.
This latest push for decriminalization in the state is similar to provisions that Gov. Tony Evers included in his state budget proposal earlier this year, which addressed decriminalization and the legalization of medical cannabis. Republican lawmakers hold majorities in the state Assembly and Senate, and removed Evers’ cannabis proposal from the budget, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
Lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Sept. 20 to legalize medical cannabis in the state, although Republican opposition to any kind of cannabis policy reform remains strong.
Republican leaders reiterated their opposition earlier this week, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the news outlet that the speaker remains opposed to decriminalization and said the issue lacks support among Assembly Republicans. However, Vos announced over the summer that he would like to work on legalizing medical cannabis this fall.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald remains opposed to legalization of any kind.
“I’ve long been an opponent to any type of marijuana legalization and doubt that any proposals currently being floated will gain support from Republicans in the Senate,” Fitzgerald told Wisconsin Public Radio.