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Smoke-filled politics and pot legalization

Posted at 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

By Benjamin Yount

Center Square News Service

MADISON - Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor is breaking out the puns to support Governor Tony Evers’ push for legal marijuana in the state.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes used one of his two Twitter accounts to offer-up puns over the weekend.

“Maybe I’m being blunt, but it’s high time we stop living in the failed past,” Barnes wrote in one tweet. “Other states take advantage of Wisconsin weed tourists who leave the state for greener pastures. What was once a pipe dream is now long overdue.”

“We have to do this. If Iowa legalizes before us, Wisconsin will be in a geographical weed bowl,” Barnes wrote in another.

Barnes seems to have taken on the role of promoter-in-chief for Evers’ legalization push.

The governor is asking lawmakers in Madison to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in the state.

“Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin — just like we do already with alcohol — ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state," Evers said in a statement.

Barnes added from his official Twitter account: “In the year 2021, there's no reason Wisconsin shouldn't join the 15 other states — red and blue — that have legalized marijuana.”

He also tweeted: “[N]ot only will this plan create jobs and reduce justice system costs, we can invest the revenue it raises in creating a more just and equitable state.”

There is little chance Evers’ proposal becomes law.

The Republicans who control the state legislature have opposed marijuana legalization in Wisconsin for years.

But they are not alone.

Taxpayer groups are also suspicious of the governor's proposal.

Eric Bott with Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin said there are real questions to ask about who would benefit from legalization, and not just people who want to use marijuana.

“The details of [Gov. Evers’] regulatory scheme matter a lot (or would if this were passable),” Bott tweeted over the weekend. “Wisconsin doesn’t need another crony three-tier system that helps a few gain advantages at the expense of the many.”

Both Illinois and Michigan have legalized marijuana. Wisconsin’s other neighbors have legalized CBD or medical marijuana in some shape or form.


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