Challenges with legalizing recreational marijuana in Wisconsin

Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 18:52:55-05

Legal marijuana scored a big win in this week’s elections.

As more states relax laws on the drug, could Wisconsin be next?

"There’s a growing consensus that marijuana at a minimum should be legal medically and recreationally,” Ald. Nik Kovac said. “There’s no question that on a state by state basis, the nation is moving toward this."

In addition to Washington D.C., the following 8 states allow recreational and medical marijuana:


"People really shouldn't be in trouble for possessing something that has been shown to be less harmful than alcohol,” State Rep. Mandela Barnes said.

However, Ald. Bob Donovan believes legalizing recreational marijuana would be a step in the wrong direction.

"I think it's a mistake for our community if we were to take any steps that send the message to young people that some drugs are okay," Donovan said.

Donovan and Kovac both agree Wisconsin is years away from changing current marijuana laws.

Last legislative session, bills to legalize adult recreational use and create a medical marijuana program for sick patients in Wisconsin failed.

While people TODAY’S TMJ4 spoke with outside Milwaukee City Hall seemed more open to expanded medical use, opinions over recreational use were mixed.

“I personally do not favor it,” resident Greg Kempen said. “I see it as a gateway drug. There are other potential issues with it but it’s a gateway drug to harder things.”

People like Frank Love disagree.

"I believe there's a lot more crimes that are worse than marijuana out here,” he said. “Marijuana doesn't hurt anyone."

The following states continue banning both recreational and medical marijuana:

-South Dakota
-West Virginia

Prior to Tuesday’s election, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C. were the only areas where both medical and recreational marijuana was legal.

Wisconsin currently has limited medical marijuana use laws.

Wisconsin physicians and pharmacies can dispense cannabidiol, or CBD oil to qualified patients who would be allowed access to the drug from an out-of-state medical marijuana dispensary. A qualified patient is defined as an individual who suffers from seizures.