Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent submits marijuana legalization legislation

Yesterday Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent wrote an op-ed piece making a strong case for the legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin. Here’s a snippet from Rep. Sargent’s op-ed.

Last session, I was proud to author a bill to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. I did this after extensive research and the realization that the most dangerous thing about marijuana in our society is the fact that it remains illegal. That is why I am re-introducing this bill.

We stand at a point in our state’s history in which we must examine what has gone wrong in Wisconsin. Revenues are down, our racial disparities rank the worst in the nation, and our jail-to-prison pipeline is at a crisis point.

While legalizing marijuana would not be a cure-all to turn our state around overnight, it would enhance personal freedoms, increase financial opportunity, and lead to safer communities.

Adults choosing to use marijuana in the safety of their own home is a matter of personal liberty and freedom. As a matter of philosophy, the government must have a compelling reason to make something illegal in our society. If an individual action does not harm yourself, your neighbors, or your community, it is no business of the government. Likewise, Wisconsinites with ailments that could be alleviated through marijuana should have the freedom to use inexpensive and effective medicine that works for them.

Later on Monday Rep. Sargent acted on her op-ed piece, submitting legislation that would legalize marijuana possession in Wisconsin.

A Democratic state representative rolled out a bill Monday that would allow Wisconsinites to roll joints.

“Legalization is a solution to increasing freedom and liberty in our society,” Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) said at a Capitol news conference.

The bill would have Wisconsin join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states where marijuana is legal. Twenty other states allow marijuana use for medical reasons, according to the National Conference of State Legislature and Governing magazine.

With Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature, the measure has virtually no chance of passing. A similar bill by Sargent in the last legislative session never got a hearing.

But Sargent said she’s met numerous conservatives who back the idea, with the belief that the government shouldn’t be involved in matters that she said don’t hurt anyone.

“This is not a bill we should be considering as a party issue. It’s a values issue,” she said.

Not surprisingly, the Journal Sentinel’s report notes Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos indicated Rep. Sargent’s legislation is unlikely to come up for consideration, because bringing up the idea of marijuana legislation would require Republicans to think outside the narrow little boxes that frame their narrow world view.


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3 thoughts on “Democratic State Rep. Melissa Sargent submits marijuana legalization legislation

  1. It’s time to end the failed prohibition on marijuana. We have seen that ending the prohibition hasn’t lead to massive “reefer madness” in other states. Legalize and tax it, already.

    1. Mase, I agree.

      When was the last time a Democrat got an “above the fold” photo, alone, and title in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel? Mary Burke got a few, but if it’s not Walker, it’s Fitzgerald. If it’s not Walker or Fitzgerald, it’s Vos.

      Among all the advantages of Rep. Sargent’s legislation, imho, the most underrated may be that main stream newspapers in Wisconsin will actually cover Democratic messaging. IMHO, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, other Wisconsin dailies understand that legalization is a unique issue that will boost their subscriber base and ad revenue. Pot and hemp, “Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp: How the Kentucky senator picked a fight with the DEA and became one of Washington’s top drug policy reformers,” By JAMES HIGDON March 02, 2015″ administered properly.

      I’m not saying this version of “indoor” farming actually works, but, “Leafy Green Machine is a complete urban farm system in a shipping container”

      Pot/hemp will be a cash crop for urban agriculture. Could be a lot of jobs. is one option that many are looking (and in the current environment that’s not easy,) at as a way to harvest 12-months/year. Aquaponics and hydroponics are new indoor farming technologies, but there’s a lot of work being done on both. Not all indoor farmers us LED’s, but as the price of LED lighting comes down, it’s more economical to only pay electricity on the specific wavelengths that whatever plants you’re growing need. Automation of planting and harvesting are key to driving costs even lower, but that’s probably a ways down the road.

      IMHO, legalization inoculates Dems on taxes, especially property taxes, funding for public schools, salaries, benefits for public sector workers. “Gov. Walker says “not right now” on legalizing marijuana in Wis.”

      That’s pretty close to what he said on right-to-freeload.

      IMHO, WI Dems need to all get out early and often on this, because imho, WIGOP may see the handwriting on the wall and claim they supported legalization all along.

      1. JC

        Republicans are going to be in another bind if they make your improbable claim of supporting it all along, plus they’ll have to trash their no-tax on US corps producing the stuff to be able to claim credit for potential tax revenue. This could get good in the they-who-laugh-last-laugh-best category, too.

        Nice to see the Legislators pushing some policy like this even if it only succeeds to slow the repressive juggernaut incrementally on their otherwise winner take all non-stop rape of the state.

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