Support for marijuana legalization grows in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Governor Tony Evers has expressed he will take the first step to legalizing medical marijuana in his state budget proposal.

This comes following November referendums where Dane and Rock County voters expressed overwhelming support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

Brian Seamonson, the Deputy Director for the Madison chapter of the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says it was good to see that support.

“It’s nice to see that we actually have a governor who’s paying attention to what people want in the state,” he said. “It’s definitely something that Wisconsin needs and we’re all ready for it.”

State representative Melissa Sargent says she plans to bring back her legislation to the floor which calls for full legalization of marijuana in the state.

“It would allow people to also have grow your own provision, up to six plants. We would have compassion centers or dispensaries in our communities and we would also be honoring the medicinal side of this plant,” Rep. Sargent explains.

Seamonson says legalization would be good for Wisconsin agriculture and business.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for farmers to get back on their feet in Wisconsin,” he added.

He also believes the state isn’t one of the front runners when it comes to legalization.

“I think Wisconsin is lagging behind the rest of the nation, especially in the Midwest,” Seamonson said.

The biggest opposition he faces is a misunderstanding of the use of the drug.

“We’re not looking to legalize marijuana to get high,” he said. “We’re looking to get an alternative other than dangerous and addicting pharmaceuticals.”

Rep. Sargent says she’s heard from her opponents there’s never been enough public support for her legislation in previous years.

“I think it’s really unfortunate that we have policy makers in the legislature who aren’t listening to their bosses, the constituents in our communities,” she continues.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he doesn’t support legalizing medical marijuana but Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’s open to it.

Rep. Sargent says she intends to introduce the legislation in the coming weeks.