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Wisconsin GOP leaders are killing more than 500 proposals from the governor, including legal cannabis

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Wisconsin Republicans killed more than 500 proposals from Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Tuesday, including one to legalize cannabis that, among others, would pay for renovating the Milwaukee Brewers stadium, creating a paid family vacation program and more, AP News reports.

Evers called the move “foolish”. He had proposed using the state’s record $7 billion budget surplus to fund a number of government spending priorities, which Wisconsin’s Republican leaders ultimately rejected. Members voted 12 to 4 to overturn Evers’ appropriation in the budget request.

“With a historic surplus of $7 billion, we have a historic responsibility and opportunity to invest in long-neglected needs and build the future we want for our state,” Evers said. He said On Twitter, before listing a number of 540 rejected priorities in a thread.

“These are not fringe ideas, controversial concepts, or Republican or Democratic priorities—it’s about doing the right thing. With historic excess comes historic responsibility, and today, when we could do more, that vote is foolish and a missed opportunity.

It’s not necessarily a terrible move, as far as cannabis is concerned at least, because the Republican-controlled legislature has previously removed cannabis reform language from previous budget proposals. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have also previously warned that they will not allow progress in the proposal to legalize adult use of cannabis.

The cannabis plan would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to purchase and possess up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use and grow up to six plants. The Revenue Department was responsible for regulating the new cannabis market and issuing business licenses to prospective cannabis professionals.

Evers office too estimated That the state would generate $44.4 million in “separate tax revenue” from legal cannabis and an increase of $10.2 million in state general fund tax revenue in fiscal 2025, if the reform is enacted.

The governor is already known for the ongoing pardons he offers, which mostly involve low-level offenses including cannabis offences. From April 2023Evers received 933 pardons in just over four years in office.

“It is one of the most rewarding parts of my job as governor to have the opportunity to give a fresh start to people who have made efforts to learn and grow from their past mistakes,” Evers said. He said.

The onslaught of rejected proposals could be a case of deja vu for Evers, too, as the governor also included legalization of recreational and medical cannabis in his 2021 budget and decriminalization and medical cannabis in his 2019 proposal. The reforms have been blocked by the Republican legislature.

Last month, the association’s president Robin Voss Tell the News agency That Republican state lawmakers have been working to build private support for a medical cannabis program that aims to garner bipartisan support, likely to be enacted into law later this year. Foss has also expressed his opposition to the legalization of recreational cannabis and does not want to create a medical program to serve as an introduction to the adult use market.

However, Wisconsin voters already seem to be setting their sights on broader horizons. Marquette Law School in August 2022 vote The state’s 811 voters showed bipartisan support for legal cannabis, with 51% of Republicans, 75% of independents, and 81% of Democrats supporting legalization. A total of 69% of registered voters believe that cannabis should be legal.

Additionally, continuing to stall legalizing cannabis will likely rob the state of potential revenue. a a report It was published earlier this year that found that 50% of Wisconsinites 21 and older live within 75 minutes of an out-of-state cannabis retailer, and that is likely to increase as Minnesota inches closer to legalization.

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