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Wisconsin Governor Proposes Marijuana Program

February 21, 2019

The newly appointed Governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has big plans to include the formation of a medical marijuana program and decriminalization in the upcoming state budget. The proposal would drastically change the current cannabis laws and legalize medical marijuana for patients with “debilitating medical conditions.”

Cannabis Budget Proposal

The proposal not only establishes a medical marijuana program for Wisconsin but would also decriminalize cannabis giving way to expungements for individuals convicted of marijuana related crimes. Additionally the budget proposal would allow the possession and use of CBD products without a physician’s recommendation.

Governor Tony Evers is expected to release the complete budget proposal on February 28th and even though the specifics haven’t been made public there are several lawmakers who are hesitant to support it.  While there are several State Assembly Republicans who have voiced their support for a medical marijuana program, getting the proposal passed in the Senate maybe difficult.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, admittedly opposes medical marijuana and doesn’t see how this budget proposal will get the votes required in the Senate. There has also been some pushback from Wisconsin law-enforcement organizations who are worried this may lead to more impaired drivers.

Medical Marijuana Conditions

The Governor’s spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff noted that the medical marijuana program would resemble Minnesota’s, but would not include the smoking ban for patients. It also details the qualifying medical conditions to participate in the program. These conditions include:

  • Cancer

  • Glaucoma

  • AIDS

  • HIV

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Hepatitis C

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • ALS

  • Nail-patella syndrome

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Chronic pain

  • Severe nausea

  • Seizures

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services would be in charge of oversight for the medical marijuana program participants. All medical marijuana patient applications would be reviewed by the DOH and they would issue state ID cards to those who qualify. If the budget is passed it would provide salaries for six cannabis regulators that would  be responsible for enabling access to medical marijuana.

Home Cultivation Allowed

One of the most important stipulations of Evers’ proposal is that all medical marijuana sold in Wisconsin would also have to be cultivated in Wisconsin. Any patient with a certified state ID to consume medical marijuana would be allowed to grow as many as 12 plants at home.

The Governor is requesting $1.6 million in funding for the next two years to setup establish the program and hire the administrative personnel. Evers estimates that Wisconsin would generate around $2.3 million in new tax revenue from legal sales of medical marijuana in what he calls a “very conservative” projection.