Governor Tony Evers (D), who has just been reelected as the governor of Wisconsin, has promised to include marijuana policy reform in his budget proposals due early in 2023. This pledge comes after Wisconsin voters in a number of counties and cities approved nonbinding questions in the midterm polls supporting the establishment of a legal marijuana market in the state.
Speaking during a press conference after his reelection, Evers said his 2023–25 budget plan will contain provisions on marijuana legalization and that it was something that lawmakers needed to discuss and find a way forward. He added that sooner or later, the will of the people of Wisconsin would prevail and legalization will happen. He expressed his frustration that despite a vast majority of voters in the state wanting marijuana legalization, nothing is happening in that regard because the legislature keeps stalling.
His frustrations stem from the fact that he has included decriminalization and legalization proposals in his budget estimates since 2019, but the legislature keeps blocking any advancement of those measures.
To push any meaningful change, the Democrats in Wisconsin needed to get a majority in both the state assembly as well as the senate. However, the Republicans have retained control of both chambers of the legislature, albeit with a slimmer majority, which cannot allow them to sidestep a veto. A super-majority is needed to force the hand of the governor on any issue.
Prior to the midterms, Governor Evers met with and urged students to turn out to vote in large numbers because their support was needed to pass progressive policy changes in the state, including on marijuana legalization. That support was direly needed because the governor wanted more Democrats elected so that some pending policy matters, such as a measure amending the constitution so that voters can put various ballot measures on the state ballot, could be passed. Republican lawmakers aren’t likely to support such an amendment.
Meanwhile, voters have in one way or the other been voicing their preferences. For example, during the midterms, voters in five municipalities and three counties voted in the affirmative on nonbinding questions asking whether they wanted marijuana to be legalized. These questions act as a sounding board to inform legislators about the views of voters on different policy issues. A poll whose findings were released in August also confirmed that 69% of the voters in the state favored marijuana legalization.
Clearly, the demand for change is growing, and that is how momentum built in jurisdictions where enterprises such as Prime Harvest Inc. now legally operate in regulated cannabis markets. It seems more a matter of when, rather than if, Wisconsin will legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Prime Harvest Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/PRIME
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