In the wake of recreational weed decriminalization in Nevada, a bevy of other states are renewing efforts to create cannabis-friendly spaces. Take Wisconsin, for instance. As of Thursday, lawmakers plan to introduce a cannabis legalization bill for both recreational and medicinal purposes.
A Call to Arms for Cannabis Legalization Bill
Headed by state Representative Melissa Sargent (D- Madison), the bill’s primary objective is to accumulate funding for the state, which would then be used to subsidize statewide services like transportation.
Like other states before it, the bill aims to channel money into the state’s economy via revenue. (For example: experts expect money garnered from cannabis legalization in Colorado will give the state $10 billion by 2018.) At this point, the criminalization of cannabis costs the state more money than it saves. As Sargent cited, each arrest for cannabis possession costs taxpayers approximately $425.
More Than Money
This isn’t the first time that Sargent has made the case for legalization; she’s been pointing out the many benefits of cannabis decriminalization as early as 2014.
One of the main prerogatives of her previous proposal was to “reduce racial disparity,” according to Sargent.
Even though she made those comments in 2014, they still hold relevance today. In a statistic that’s sadly similar to recent findings by the Drug Policy Alliance, Sargent pointed out at the time that people of color (specifically black people) are four times more likely to be arrested for possession.
“The facts clearly show that legalization is right for Wisconsin and that the most dangerous thing about marijuana is that it’s illegal,” Sargent concluded.
A Popular Opinion
Sargent and lawmakers like her aren’t the only ones to see the positive aspects of the cannabis legalization bill. Many Wisconsin residents are also in support of the proposal.
“I think it’s a great idea, it’s about time,” Wisconsin native Jeff McDonald told the press. “There are a lot of things that are illegal that does a lot more harm than marijuana does. And I think with marijuana, we could help people that are currently taking a lot of opioids, and those are far more dangerous.”
We’re rooting for you, Wisconsin!