Not enough GOP support to legalize marijuana, WI Senate leader says

Devin LaMahieu
Devin LaMahieu(Devin LaMahieu)
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 4:02 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Marijuana legalization in Wisconsin will not be happening anytime soon.

Not enough Republicans would support legalizing marijuana, either for recreational or medicinal uses, for it to make it through the state senate, Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said during an interview Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Gov. Tony Evers indicated previously that he would include a plan for legalization in his upcoming biennial budget.

LeMahieu pointed out during the interview with President Jeff Mayers that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Discussions about legalization should happen in Washington and not by “some rogue state without actual science behind it,” the AP quoted him saying.

In promoting a legalization plan, Evers indicated his proposal would be similar to the laws in Illinois and Michigan, adding that taxes on marijuana could generate about $165 million in new revenue starting in 2022. He also noted a Marquette University study that found 6 in 10 Wisconsinite support legalization.

In February, shortly after Evers original announcement, several Republican leaders spoke out against the plan.

Elsewhere in his interview, LaMahieu, who took over as Senate Majority Leader after Scott Fitzgerald was elected to Congress in Novemeber, acknowledged his new role got off to a rough start. He explained to Mayers that there was a learning curve and that it was “maybe a rocky start.”

Mayers asked him about the COVID-19 deal the Senate GOP struck with the Evers Administration, only to see Assembly Republicans, led by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) pass their own bill.

The Senate ultimately approved the Assembly version only to have Evers veto it. LeMahieu said he worked with Evers because he thought it was important to get something done. But he said he and Vos generally have the same goals in mind.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.