MILWAUKEE – The latest Marquette University Law School poll found, for the first time, that a majority of Republicans support legalizing marijuana sales in Wisconsin.
But there is a big difference between what the polls say and what politicians do. So where is the push for legal weed in Wisconsin?
The legislative year is almost over. The weed bills haven’t even made the first move to get a hearing. Democrats and Republicans have introduced bills to allow medical marijuana, while Democrats also hope to legalize recreational use.
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The neighboring states of Michigan and Illinois allow the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes.
“I don’t necessarily see why they wouldn’t. All the states around us are. Anyone who’s going to have access to it,” said Milwaukee resident Kiefer Zuelstdorf.
The latest Marquette Poll asked Wisconsin residents whether marijuana should be allowed — a question the poll has been asking for nearly 10 years. Today, the number of people who support him is at an all-time high: 61% of Wisconsin residents say “yes,” while 31% say “no.” Of Republicans polled, 51% said pot should be allowed in Wisconsin.
“We’ve seen widespread increases. That’s also true in national polls, but I think the change among Republicans is interesting,” poll director Charles Franklin said. “The party that has most vehemently opposed passage of marijuana legalization legislation.”
Marijuana support in Wisconsin was at its lowest in 2014, when stores in Colorado began selling weed.
“It comes with some social ills, but it also comes with a lot of tax revenue,” said Larry Lavelle, a Colorado resident who was in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Colorado collected $423 million in tax revenue from the pot in 2021.
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A Wisconsin-based group, Your Choice Prevention Education, is urging kids to say ‘no’ – saying legalizing marijuana could inspire more kids to experiment. This is something the group are concerned about, citing studies that link marijuana use to an increased risk of psychiatric disorders, depression and anxiety.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) supported medical marijuana, while Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said it was a federal problem – not a state one.
State Sen. Janet Bewley (D-Mason) said no weed proposals will pass this year, but they are talking about possibilities.