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Gov. Evers pushes for legal medical marijuana in budget

MADISON (WKOW) – Monday morning Governor Tony Evers will announce his plans to reform marijuana laws in Wisconsin. It’s part of his budget proposal due this month.

According to a recent Marquette Law School poll, 59 percent of Wisconsinites agree with marijuana legalization.

With his budget, Governor Evers is starting with decriminalization and medical marijuana legalization.

For Representative Melissa Sargent, it’s a promising sign.

“To have a governor who has actually heard the voices of the people in the state of Wisconsin as he’s putting together his budget, I believe that it is very much an example of something that is going to represent the will of the people in our community,” Sargent said.

It may not be so simple.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the Republican senator opposes medical marijuana and the governor will face an uphill battle.

Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Tyler August of Lake Geneva, said at an event in January, the medical marijuana debate is such a big issue it should be addressed on its own.

“There has been talk about this being the first step to something. That makes me feel like if there’s a first step, there must be other steps,” August said. “So I guess the whole plan should probably be revealed before we talk just about a little piece of it.”

Sargent, who has introduced a bill to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, says most budget deliberations are challenging, but she is hopeful.

“I do know that here in the Capitol building there are a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that have expressed interest in legalization,” Sargent said. “I am hopeful that that helps this provision in the budget to continue to move forward.”

Minnesota and Illinois have legalized medical marijuana, along with 31 other states.

Michigan has joined nine other states to fully legalize the drug.

The budget proposal will also include a measure for removing some marijuana-related criminal records.

The governor will be holding a press conference Monday morning to give more details on his plan.

Lawmakers are expected to receive the governor’s budget by the end of the month.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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