Wisconsin cannot legalize cannabis by voter initiative, as states such as Colorado and Washington have done; the Wisconsin constitution simply doesn't allow it. Unfortunately, the only path to legal cannabis in Wisconsin, will be to have the legislature and Governor allow it through legislation.
Given the widespread support of legalization, the growing number of states that are legalizing cannabis for recreational use, and the financial and community relations pressures facing our state today, we believe that it is crucial that Governor Walker hears our call to end the injustice and absurdity of prohibition.
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The people of Wisconsin have spoken: we want cannabis to be regulated like alcohol! Given the damage that alcohol causes to our communities and the relative safety of cannabis consumption, it's long overdue that we be legally allowed this safer alternative. With study after study showing that cannabis causes less impairment and less violence, with fewer side effects and fewer long-term health consequences than alcohol, the rationale for supporting prohibition has quickly fallen apart.
Given the budget deficits and hundred-million-dollar funding cuts to education and roads in our state, we can't afford to pass up the millions in tax revenue that legalization would bring in. This year alone, Colorado will be bringing in over $100 million dollars in taxes by regulating the cannabis industry and pulling it out of the hands of criminals.
By regulating the cannabis market, we can ensure that all sales are made only to adults 21 years and older with valid IDs. We can ensure that the cannabis is free of adulterants and unsafe chemicals. And we can ensure that no one is offered hard drugs when attempting to make their cannabis purchase. By bringing the cannabis market out of the shadows, we make our communities safer for everyone.
When 59% of Wisconsin voters agree that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol according to a recent Marquette University Poll, it makes no sense to continue locking people up and saddling their futures with criminal records. We desperately need to restore trust between the police and the communities, and to open up economic opportunity to every person in Wisconsin; cannabis prohibition and the damage caused by unnecessary criminal records continue to be some of the major roadblocks to enabling peace and prosperity in Wisconsin.
We urge you, Governor Walker, to look at the scientific facts around cannabis and to take a look at the benefits that states like Colorado and Washington have seen in legalizing cannabis, and for you to lead Wisconsin forward into a more harmonious and prosperous future for us all by legalizing cannabis in our state.