Wisconsin governor to include plan for marijuana legalization in budget, despite GOP opposition

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers included plans to legalize recreational and medical marijuana as part of his new two-year budget, looking to generate $165 million.

Evers would aim to use the money raised through marijuana sales to fund rural schools and poorer communities in the state.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin — just like we do already with alcohol — ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state,” Evers said.

Tony Evers, Democratic nominee for governor of Wisconsin, speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic candidates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Senator Bernie Sanders visited Wisconsin as part of a nine-state swing with to give a boost to progressive candidates ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Getty Images)

“Frankly, red and blue states across the country have moved forward with legalization and there is no reason Wisconsin should be left behind when we know it’s supported by a majority of Wisconsinites.”

Evers also said that the sales would provide more state revenue, create jobs and cut down on criminal justice costs, WPR reported.

Voters in 16 Wisconsin counties and two major cities supported the use of marijuana, most of which were related to medical marijuana.

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The motion will likely be blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester recently said he would support legalizing medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana.

Vos requested that the issue of recreational use be handled separately from the state budget, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

State Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, labeled the governor’s proposal as “divisive.”

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“The bottom line is, he knows, I know, we know that the Republican Legislature is not going to legalize marijuana, per se,” Bernier said. “So, let’s talk about the things we can do, and work together.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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