Gov. Evers proposes new marijuana laws

Wisconsin+Gov.+Tony+Evers+speaks+to+reporters+in+Madison+on+Tuesday%2C+February+12.+%28AP+Photo%29

Scott Bauer

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks to reporters in Madison on Tuesday, February 12. (AP Photo)

Brock Doemel, Columns editor

On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who unseated former Gov. Scott Walker in November, announced his support for legalizing marijuana for medical use, and further proposed decriminalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is a Schedule I substance, which is defined as a drug with a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted use in medicine. Despite this, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational and medical use, and thirty three states allow medicinal use only.

Announcing his proposals, Evers pointed to reasons of access to health care and criminal justice reform.

‚ÄúPeople shouldn’t be treated as criminals for accessing a desperately-needed medication that can alleviate their suffering,” the Governor said. In a press release, Evers added that “Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate in the country for black men, and drug-related crimes account for as many as 75-85 percent of all inmates in our prisons.”

The proposal would also expunge the criminal records of individuals already convicted for marijuana violations who have served their sentences.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican who has pushed back against the idea of medical marijuana in the past, said that “It makes it easier to get recreational marijuana and provides a pathway to full legalization, which I do not support.”

The proposals would first need to be passed by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly and the also Republican-controlled State Senate before the Governor would be able to sign it into law.