Wisconsin lawmakers are making a bipartisan push for cannabis decriminalization.
Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Gibson), Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Valez (D-Milwaukee), Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Kathleen Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) have introduced legislation to reduce the state’s existing penalties for cannabis possession, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
Under current law, cannabis possession is punishable with a felony charge, a $1,000 fine and up to six months of jail time, the news outlet reported.
The new legislation would reduce the fine to a $100 civil forfeiture for the possession of 114 grams or less, and instances of possession involving 28 grams of cannabis or less would not count as a repeat offense, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
Law enforcement has conducted an average of 15,485 arrests per year since 2010 for cannabis possession, the news outlet reported, and the proposed bill includes provisions that would streamline the booking process for law enforcement and courts to “save time, money, and resources.”
The legislation also limits the liability of employers that do not require employees or candidates during the hiring process to take a drug test for cannabis as a condition of employment, the Wisconsin Examiner reported.
The deadline for co-sponsorship on the bill is Nov. 23, according to the news outlet.
Earlier this year, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers proposed regulating and taxing adult-use cannabis in his 2021-23 biennial budget. The proposal, which was met with scrutiny by key players in the state Legislature, would have also legalized medical cannabis.
After Evers’ plan was ultimately cut from the final budget, a group of Democratic state lawmakers announced in August the introduction of a new bill to legalize adult-use cannabis.