Wisconsinites Want Weed: Where Local Lawmakers Stand on Legalization

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

By Christina Lorey

April 19, 2023

Right now, the Badger State is an island among weed-friendly states, with all three of its neighbors having some form of legality.

In Wisconsin, 69% voters support cannabis legalization.

And Gov. Tony Evers wants it, too, but state Republicans are standing in his way. Right now, cannabis is illegal in Wisconsin, and the laws prohibiting it are strict. Evers pushed for full legalization in his 2023 state budget proposal. However, state Republicans say that won’t happen.

“For people who have long-term chronic issues, I am very sympathetic and I’d like to find a way to get it across the finish line,” said Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

A bipartisan effort has been discussed for the 2023 session, but “serious limitations” will be needed for it to happen.

“If we’re going to do medical marijuana, it has nothing to do with generating taxes for the state and it has nothing to do with creating a new industry,” Vos added. “We do not need to become like Illinois or Michigan where anywhere you go, there’s the stench of marijuana.”

MORE: Here’s How Much You Could Be Find For Marijuana Possession in Wisconsin

But Wisconsin might benefit from becoming more like its neighbors, at least when it comes to weed. Right now, the state is an island for marijuana legalization in the Midwest [see map below], with Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois all having some form of legality.

According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Wisconsin’s southern neighbor made $36.1 million in tax revenue last year from Wisconsin residents who traveled across the border to buy marijuana. And more than half of all cannabis sales in counties that border Wisconsin were made by Badger State residents.

Where do your lawmakers stand?

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) graded more than 100 government officials in Wisconsin on how willing they are to legalize cannabis.

Gov. Tony Evers, US Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and US House Rep. Mark Pocan all received A+’s for their consistent support of progressive reform legislation and “sensible marijuana laws.”

Surprisingly, US Sen. Ron Johnson received a D, and not an F like US House Reps. Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Tiffany, because he’s “open to seeing data produced by states that are moving forward with recreational cannabis in order to make a further decision.”

Click here to see how your state and federal representatives scored.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.



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