Unpacking Governor Evers' Proposed Changes To Wisconsin's Marijuana Laws

May 1, 2019

Wisconsin’s laws regulating marijuana possession have been a patchwork of municipal ordinances for years. Now, Gov. Tony Evers is hoping to change that.

In his first budget proposal, Evers proposed a state-wide policy decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing its use for medicinal purposes. Still, while Evers presents a clear path forward, there remains a lot of confusion over what his proposal would mean for Wisconsinites. 

Read: Evers Proposes Decriminalizing Small Amounts Of Marijuana, Legalizing Medical Use In Wisconsin

Rob Henken is the president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, which just released a report analyzing the proposal. He says there are two key ways that Evers' proposal would change Wisconsin's laws governing marijuana. 

"The first is to have a full-fledged, medicinal marijuana program. So, to the extent that individuals with certain health conditions, upon advice of their doctor, want to use marijuana as a treatment or as a pain reliever — or whatever the therapeutic medicinal purpose is — they would be able to register with the state of Wisconsin and would be able to purchase and use marijuana legally," says Henken. 

"So, to the extent that individuals with certain health conditions, upon advice of their doctor, want to use marijuana as a treatment or as a pain reliever — or whatever the therapeutic medicinal purpose is — they would be able to register with the state of Wisconsin and would be able to purchase and use marijuana legally," says Henken.

The proposal also puts forward a plan for a regulated market in Wisconsin, where patients would be able to purchase marijuana — an important step in moving beyond the "conceptual stage." 

Henken continues, "The second is that there's a provision in there to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, and so that would be new and different as well."

The proposal would also remove fines for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and defines a "small amount" of marijuana as 25 grams or less.

"If you're trying to visualize that, it's about the amount of marijuana that could fit into a sandwich bag," Henken explains.