Legalizing Marijuana

Andy believes there are many reasons why Wisconsin should legalize marijuana and would support it enthusiastically if it passed a statewide referendum. There is ample evidence showing: 1) marijuana effectively addresses a variety of medical conditions; 2) opioid use is substantially reduced in states like Colorado where marijuana has been legalized and; 3) criminalizing marijuana for recreational use poses an enormous personal and societal cost and does so disproportionately to communities of color.

Marijuana has proven to offer medicinal benefits for people suffering from chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, epilepsy, and many other illnesses. Instead of recognizing these benefits, Gov. Walker sees this differently. He has Wisconsin’s prison system overflowing — many of whom are locked up on non-violent, marijuana-related charges that have escalated over time. Walker’s policies on incarceration are destroying families and the real cost to Wisconsin taxpayers is countless millions of dollars that could be more productively directed to institutions throughout our state that have been starved of financial resources.

While there remains a debate as to whether cannabis is a gateway drug, there is growing evidence that suggests cannabis is safer to use than alcohol and has fewer long-term side effects. Andy has never used cannabis, but he has witnessed its effects on the people who do. While his observations are in no way meant to be clinical, he has seen cannabis have a mellowing effect on its consumers, often promoting hunger and sleep. In contrast, he’s seen some consumers of alcohol (and he is a beer drinker), become uninhibited, angry and aggressive. Andy recognizes that both cannabis and alcohol are drugs that modify behavior. He believes it is possible to tax, regulate and inform consumers about the risks of both as well as provide the education needed to inform consumers about how to responsibly use both.

Andy sees the legalization of cannabis as an eventuality and wants to establish an industry that will be very good for Wisconsin’s economy, that honors our strong agricultural tradition and that generates substantial tax revenue to be used for the public good. When governor Andy will:

  • Put legalizing marijuana to a statewide referendum and enthusiastically support the full legalization of marijuana if passed by Wisconsin voters;
  • Properly regulate and tax the sale of marijuana to inform Wisconsin residents about the responsible use of marijuana; to fund drug treatment and rehabilitation programs and to battle the opioid crisis; to fund mental health services; to fund law enforcement efforts combating illegal drugs; to upgrade and integrate law enforcement systems and databases to combat crime and identify best practices that reduce recidivism; and to help fund public education and job training.
  • Comprehensively review all cases involving persons with current or past convictions for marijuana-related, non-violent crimes and, when appropriate, advocate for early release and expungement of their criminal records. The cases reviewed would consider the circumstances surrounding the original and/or repeated convictions and subsequent incarceration and also any crimes committed while incarcerated.