Marijuana Legalization Legislation Introduced

A bill to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin was introduced in the state legislature today. Democrat Melissa Sargent from Madison authored the bill, which she says will help create jobs and jumpstart the economy. But not everyone is on board. Fox 25/48's Jessica Bringe has more.

Wisconsin may soon become the latest state to legalize marijuana.

"You'd get rid of the budget downfalls we've had in the state for the last five or six years or so."

Representative Melissa Sargent says she is introducing the bill as Wisconsin legislators have failed to meet the July first state budget deadline.

"In the light of the continued budget impasse and our budget crisis here in Wisconsin, I'm introducing a bill that will fully legalize marijuana today."

Sargent says with the marijuana industry expected to be worth more than 20-million dollars by 2020. Wisconsin can't wait any longer to legalize it.

"State that legalized marijuana has seen unparalleled economic stimulus. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created in the states. Hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue have been brought in and billions of dollars in other economic benefits."

However, Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer says legalizing marijuana would have similar consequences to the legalization of alcohol.

"Opening that door, like we did for prohibition for alcohol, is opening up a whole other layer for problematic things for counties and municipalities to deal with."

Cramer says states like Colorado that have legalized the drug have seen increases in robberies, drug related school suspensions, and marijuana DUI'S that can be difficult to detect since there isn't an in-field sobriety test.

"In law enforcement, we're supposed to be trained in all these different things and delineate between a medical condition or just simply overuse of marijuana or an opioid. So, it's frustrating. I just don't think we need this other layer of problems in our society."

Jessica Bringe, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.


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