Legalization could bring Wisconsin $165 million a year or more in tax revenue, state Sen. Melissa Agard says
SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. —
There is a new push to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin.
This time, lawmakers chose to leave the state to make their point, saying they want to prevent millions of dollars from leaving the state.
Scores of Wisconsinites make the trek every day across the state line near Beloit to the first exit and the road to the Sunnyside marijuana dispensary in South Beloit.
"You went across the state line to come here today, why?" WISN 12's Kent Wainscott asked a customer.
"To get some weed because it's legal here. Just cross the line and come get it," dispensary customer Justin said.
Wisconsin lawmakers went there Tuesday to re-introduce a bill to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin.
"We know Wisconsin is ready for legalization, past ready for legalization," Democratic State Sen. Melissa Agard, of Madison said.
Agard and Milwaukee State Rep. David Bowen stood in a dispensary parking lot filled with Wisconsin license plates.
Some Wisconsin women, who asked to not be identified, said they spend more than $150 there every month.
"It's a lot of money that could've been spent in Wisconsin," one woman said.
Illinois is coming off a record month for marijuana sales of $128 million.
Agard said in Wisconsin, legalization could bring the state $165 million a year or more in tax revenue.
But a spokesperson for Senate Republican Leader Devin Lemehiue said Tuesday that Lemehieu remains opposed to legalizing marijuana without FDA approval.
Still, Agard and others there, believe now is the time.
"It's not a matter of if this going to happen in Wisconsin, it's a matter of when," Agard said.
"Everybody's smoking at this point in time. It's like, they're making money off it. You need extra money. You might as well do it for weed. So, why not?" Justin said.
In the most recent Marquette University Law School poll on the issue, in 2019, 59% of Wisconsinites said they support legalizing recreational marijuana, and 83% supported legalization for medical purposes.
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