Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Monday he will propose decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the criminal records of those who have completed their sentences for violating marijuana laws.
“Too many people, often persons of color, spend time in our criminal justice system just for possessing small amounts of marijuana,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “That doesn’t make our communities stronger or safer This shouldn’t be a Republican issue or a Democratic issue and I look forward to working on both sides of the aisle to pass this proposal in my budget.”
Mr. Evers also said he will try to align the state’s regulations on cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, with much looser federal guidelines. CBD oil is made from marijuana and used to treat seizures.
“As a cancer survivor, I know the side effects of a major illness can make everyday tasks a challenge,” he said. “People shouldn’t be treated as criminals for accessing a desperately-needed medication that can alleviate their suffering.”
But the issue is not just about health care, Mr. Evers said, calling the plan a step forward to ending “racial disparities and economic inequality.”
Under Mr. Evers‘ proposal, manufacturing or possessing up to 25 grams of marijuana would be decriminalized. It would also prevent local municipalities from establishing their own ordinances or penalties for possession of fewer than 25 grams of marijuana.
The measure will be introduced as part of Mr. Evers‘ state budget, which is due Feb. 28.
State Republicans signaled Monday they will move to block the plan.
“Pretty sad the former head of our K-12 schools is now pushing the legalization of pot. Who is watching out for kids?” Republican state Sen. Duey Stroebel tweeted.