Evers says he will make 'first step' toward pot legalization

NOW: Evers says he will make ’first step’ toward pot legalization

MADISON – Governor Tony Evers indicated this week that he plans on taking a “first step” towards medical marijuana legalization, a step that could ultimately lead to full legalization down the road.

Speaking to the board of directors of the Wisconsin Technology Council Tuesday, Governor Evers said that, “at the end of the day do I favor legalization of marijuana, yes.” Evers added, “I want it to be done correctly.”

The governor says that the first step will likely be around medical marijuana in his first budget proposal. That’s welcomed news for Rep. Melissa Sargent (D – Madison) who has long advocated for full legalization of marijuana.

“I think it is really refreshing to have a governor that sees the importance of addressing the egregiousness of having a prohibition on marijuana in the state of Wisconsin,” Sargent told CBS 58. “I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and work with his administration to make sure we do it right here.”

Sargent believes that the people of Wisconsin have spoken “loud and clear” on the issue. In the November election, 16 counties and two cities – including Milwaukee and Racine – held advisory referendums asking if some form of legalization of marijuana, be it medicinal or recreational, should be legalized. A majority of voters voted ‘yes’ on those referendums.

The path towards legalization may have a roadblock in the state legislature. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R – Juneau) opposes legalization and believes that there are not enough votes in his chamber for the idea to reach the governor’s desk.

“I still don’t think the support’s there within the senate caucus to move in that direction,” Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday. “But I know the debate’s going on nationwide.”

The governor is expected to present his budget sometime in February. That is when more information on his first step will be available.

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