Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a vocal advocate for full-scale recreational marijuana legalization, expressed openness to a more restricted medical marijuana legalization proposed by Republicans on Wednesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Governor Evers, a Democrat, stated, “I would think that getting it all done in one fell swoop would be more thoughtful as far as meeting the needs of Wisconsinites that have asked for it. But if that’s what we can accomplish right now, I’ll be supportive of that.”

Republican lawmakers are set to introduce the medical marijuana legalization bill on Monday. Despite Governor Evers’ repeated calls for comprehensive marijuana legalization, Republicans have consistently resisted, limiting their focus to medical usage.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a prominent Republican, outlined that the proposal would be narrow in scope and draw inspiration from the medical marijuana laws previously implemented in neighboring Minnesota. Vos welcomed the governor’s openness but cautioned against framing the proposal as a mere precursor to full recreational legalization, emphasizing that such a narrative could jeopardize the bill’s chances.

Republican State Senator Mary Felzkowski, who introduced a medical marijuana bill in 2022 that received its first legislative hearing, expressed satisfaction with Governor Evers’ receptiveness to the idea. However, she clarified that she was not directly involved in the Assembly’s current proposal.

Governor Evers, although yet to review the specific details of the Republican bill, pledged his support for a limited proposal. On the Democratic side, Senator Melissa Agard, an advocate for full-scale legalization, criticized the lack of consultation by Republicans and expressed uncertainty about the bill’s contents.

Wisconsin currently stands as an outlier nationally, with 38 states having legalized medical marijuana and 24 allowing recreational use. The state’s momentum for legalization has increased, influenced by neighboring states relaxing their marijuana laws. Marquette University Law School polls consistently indicate significant support among Wisconsin residents for marijuana legalization over the years.

Read the whole article from AP here.

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