The Wisconsin state capitol has voted to ease restrictions on cannabis. Madison will now allow the possession and consumption of cannabis, despite strict state laws.
Madison is an outlier when it comes to cannabis policy in Wisconsin. While most states are progressing toward cannabis legalization, Wisconsin still holds stiff penalties for all forms of the substance.
Now, anyone in Madison above the age of 18 can possess and consume an ounce or less of cannabis on public property. Additionally, individuals can possess and consume cannabis on private property as long as they have permission from the building owner, landlord, or tenant.
The newly adopted ordinances also allow possession of drug paraphernalia for cannabis use. It will also ban consumption in a motor vehicle while in operation, on school property, within 1,000 feet of any school, or on school buses. Finally, it prohibits smoking cannabis in any place where smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products and devices are prohibited.
However, the state, as a whole, still has strict cannabis policies. The possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor and can result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Further violations could result in a felony, punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Long Overdue Measure
Alder Mike Verveer, District 4, said the measure is “long overdue.” He also said that it is “preposterous and outrageous” that the Wisconsin State Legislature has not moved toward legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis like many other states.
“It’s absurd that residents of our community can simply drive down to south Beloit and legally purchase marijuana at a dispensary there now, and the same just should be true here,” Verveer said. “Just think of all the tax revenue and all the good it could do across our state.”
Eighteen alders co-sponsored the measures in addition to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. The ordinances passed on a voice vote. The only person to vote no was Ald. Paul Skidmore of District 9.
Ald. Max Prestigiacomo, District 8, called the approval a “long overdue victory for social justice.”