Marijuana laws are pretty strict in Wisconsin. Although cannabis is spreading its roots across US states, it’s still illegal at the federal level. President Trump and his administration want states to decide. Florida, New York, and Minnesota are all gearing up to legalize adult-use cannabis. Now, Wisconsin is pushing to legalize medical marijuana. Let’s see what’s happening in the state.
Wisconsin wants to legalize medical marijuana
Recently, lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill to legalize medical cannabis. If the new bill is passed into law, it will allow patients to use cannabis if they’re registered with the state. Also, the bill will create a licensing system for growers.
The demand for marijuana legalization motivated lawmakers to pursue the bill. A Marquette University Law School poll in April showed that 59% of voters supported legalization. Also, around 83% of the voters supported medical cannabis legalization.
Cannabis is still illegal in Wisconsin. Marijuana is considered a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the Wisconsin Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Medical cannabis is allowed to a limited extent. The state legalized non-psychoactive CBD oil in 2014. However, the oil has tight controls. Non-psychoactive CBD oil is allowed for limited medical conditions under Wisconsin’s cannabis laws. In November 2017, Wisconsin legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp.
What does the new medical cannabis bill include?
For patients to use medical marijuana, they have to:
- join a new state Department of Health Services registry
- have a medical condition to qualify for the registry like AIDS, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, severe pain, or chronic disease
- obtain approval from a doctor after diagnosis to qualify and join the registry
- pay a registration fee of $250 and an annual fee of $250
The bill will also allow a new licensing system for medical marijuana growers. The criteria include:
- growing more than a dozen marijuana plants
- an initial fee of $250 and an annual fee of $5,000
- not growing marijuana for personal or family use
Possible challenges in Wisconsin
Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach, Democratic Representative Chris Taylor, and Republican Senator Patrick Testin introduced the new bill. According to them, the government shouldn’t decide whether a patient needs medical marijuana. Previously, I discussed how Democrats have always supported marijuana legalization. As the 2020 presidential election campaign heats up, Democratic candidates have stepped up for federal marijuana legalization. Recently, Beto O’Rourke boosted his election campaign with marijuana reforms.
Notably, Republicans haven’t always favored marijuana legalization. A Harvard study showed that 50% of Republicans oppose legalization. I think Republicans could be a challenge in Wisconsin. Notably, the Republican-controlled legislature will make it difficult for the bill to be passed.
Legalization in other states
Currently, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes. The states include Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Illinois. Meanwhile, 11 states and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use. California legalized medical cannabis in 1996 and recreational cannabis in 2016. Texas still doesn’t support legalization.
Cannabis players’ expansion plans
Major Canadian cannabis players are expanding into Europe and some US states. However, federal restrictions stop companies from expanding in the US.
Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) plans to expand its CBD business through its partnership with Martha Stewart. Together, they plan to launch a variety of CBD-based products for animal and human use. However, CBD products still face challenges from the FDA. As a result, we’ll have to see if Canopy Growth expands into the US market. The company will expand in the new edibles and beverages market after Cannabis 2.0. Canopy Growth could face challenges in the US. Aurora Cannabis (ACB) could also face the same hurdles. The company plans to expand into the US after edible legalization in Canada.
Cronos Group (CRON) could face similar problems. Recently, the company announced its entry into the US market. Cronos Group acquired Redwood Holding Group. Redwood manufactures, markets, and distributes hemp-derived CBD infused skincare products and other consumer products. Altria (MO) has a $1.8 billion investment in the company. Cronos Group has lost 9.0% in September, while Canopy Growth has gained 8.5%. Aurora Cannabis has lost 7.6% in September.
Isn’t it time for the US to legalize marijuana?
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, the federal government is losing out on tax revenues. Notably, the tax revenues are going to the states.
The Marquette University Law School poll in April showed how President Trump is losing his edge over Joe Biden and other presidential candidates. Around 51% of voters chose Biden over President Trump for the 2020 election.
President Trump needs to strike hard if he wants to stay in the White House. Attempting to legalize medical marijuana might be a good start. Read Marijuana: Will Trump Have an Edge over Biden? to learn more.
I discussed how cannabis has gained popularity in various countries. Mexico might be next. Read Marijuana Legalization: Mexico Will Seal the Deal! to learn more.
Should the US step up and legalize marijuana? Stay with us on more insights into the cannabis industry.