Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has just signed a bill with controversial provision that blocks local municipalities from putting advisory marijuana legalization questions on the ballot. Despite ongoing discussion and debate in the state about whether or not to legalize marijuana, the governor’s decision has sparked questions about the future of cannabis in Wisconsin.
1. Wisconsin Governor Signs Controversial Provision Blocking Local Marijuana Legalization
Last week, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed into law controversial legislation blocking the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state – even when local governments pass ordinances in support.
The new provision, which took effect upon signing, prevents the state’s 72 counties and 19 cities from decriminalizing or legally regulating the sale of marijuana. This decision has left many in the state disappointed and frustrated, as many believed that they were poised to follow in many other states’ footsteps in finally legalizing recreational cannabis. Here are some of the key issues that proponents of the new law have raised:
- Marijuana is still federally illegal and difficult to obtain in Wisconsin
- Drug-related crime rates in the state may rise as a result of the provision
- Cannabis is seen as a viable option to alleviate pain for many
With Governor Evers’ signature, a temporary reprieve for marijuana activists in Wisconsin was snuffed out before it had even gotten started. The move has seen as a major setback for hundreds of Wisconsinites who have supported recreational cannabis legalization for the past decade. Even still, the fight is far from over and many eager advocates of reform are already mapping out their next steps.
2. GOP Provision to Hinder Local Marijuana Legalization
As marijuana legalization gains traction on a state-level, the Republican-controlled Senate is introducing key provisions to hinder the process. Despite pressure from advocacy groups, here are two common ways by which local marijuana legalization can be impeded:
- Including provisions that would let federal law enforcement officials override local statutes to prosecute cannabis crimes.
- Stipulating marijuana businesses to a restrictive classification that prevents them from accessing banking services, heavily increasing operational costs.
These two measures alone could have a strong impact on the future of state-level marijuana legalization. They would impose a considerable financial burden on businesses, and the uncertainty of possible federal prosecution would prevent many individuals from participating in the industry altogether. This could severely limit the already scarce resources available for policy projects, research projects, and other initiatives that rely on public involvement and private funding. While the true implications of these provisions have yet to be seen, their introduction is sure to cause some serious reverberations in the evolution of marijuana initiatives in states across the country.
3. What Impact Will This Bill Have on Wisconsin?
The proposed state budget bill, if passed, will have a tremendous impact on Wisconsin. All corners of the state will be affected in some way. Some of the major areas of impact include:
- Taxes: The bill contains measures that would reduce the income tax rates for individuals in Wisconsin and increase property taxes through fee increases and other revenue increases.
- Education: The bill includes several changes that would affect K-12 and higher education. Funding for school districts would go up, making it possible for students to participate in more activities and receive more educational opportunities. Funding for universities and colleges would also increase, allowing more students to afford a higher education.
- Health Care: The bill would expand Medicaid coverage and create a new health plan for individuals that don’t qualify for Medicaid. It also includes changes to insurance regulations that would make health care more accessible and affordable.
- Environment: The bill would provide funding for water infrastructure and clean energy projects. It also includes incentives for green businesses, such as subsidies for electric vehicles.
The economic implications of the proposed state budget bill could be quite large. Wisconsin will almost certainly be a different state after the bill is passed. It is up to the citizens of Wisconsin to decide whether the bill will benefit the state, or if the changes will have a negative impact.
4. Is There Any Chance for a Reversal of This Bill?
As a consequence of staunch opposition from various sections of the country, and the rapidly dispersing news of the impending bill, the answer is quite positive. Indeed, hope for a reversal of the legislation is starting to build. All it might take is some determined individuals with enough passion and a lot of support. Here’s how they can do it:
- Raise Support – Speak to people about the issue and encourage them to take part in the fight against the bill. Igniting the views of the majority can be powerful enough to exert pressure on government.
- Organize – Reach out and join forces with civil organizations, political parties, intellectuals, NGOs, etc. which are in opposition of the bill. Coming together provides more leverage, and it allows for more combined resources to fight the bill.
- Write to Officials – Contact local, regional, and national officials, and express your dissent against the proposed bill. Keep in mind that the more letters they receive, the more likely they are to pay attention.
The chance of this bill being reversed is certainly viable, as it all comes down to just how much people are willing to fight for it. It takes more than just passionate words. It also takes the courage and resilience to actively pursue justice. Only then, will there be enough strength to eventually overturn the bill.
The bill targeting marijuana has been signed into law in Wisconsin, setting in motion a rather stark contrast in opinions across the state. While some have expressed concern over the limitations it poses on local communities, others have praised the measure for taking steps to establish clear and consistent statewide regulation. Only time will tell how the legislation is ultimately received and whether it’t impact will be positive, negative, or neither.