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Wisconsin GOP’s medical marijuana bill contains limited business opportunities

Republicans in the Wisconsin State Assembly introduced a medical marijuana legalization proposal that offers limited business opportunities.

Only nonsmokable marijuana would be available to seriously ill state residents with either a terminal diagnosis or a chronic health condition, the Associated Press reported.

Regulated cannabis would be dispensed by pharmacists and sold only at five “state-run dispensaries,” according to sponsors who introduced the legislation Monday.

And that’s as far as the Republicans who control the state Legislature are willing to go for now, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said.

Wisconsin is one of two states in the Great Lakes region without any form of regulated marijuana.

The state borders Minnesota, which legalized recreational marijuana last year, and Illinois, which launched adult-use sales four years ago.

Cannabis purchases by Wisconsin residents generated $36 million in sales tax revenue in Illinois, according to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Roughly 64% of Wisconsin voters said they support full marijuana legalization, according to a 2022 poll by the Marquette Law School.

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, has for years called for the Republican-controlled state Legislature to fully legalize marijuana.

Last week, however, Evers said he’d “be supportive” of a more limited plan.

Republican lawmakers have shot down Evers’s previous, more expansive legalization proposals.

The governor was noncommittal Monday when asked about the new Republican plan, according to the Associated Press.

State Senate Republicans likewise were indifferent, with Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu telling the AP that the bill needs to be “thoroughly vetted before the Senate decides how to proceed.”

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