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Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

According to a lawmaking analysis that a top Wisconsin senator asked for, in 2022, people from Wisconsin bought more than $121 million worth of legal marijuana from stores in neighboring Illinois. This brought in about $36 million in tax money for the state.

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard (D), who has supported legalization bills in the past, asked the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) to look into how much money was moving from Wisconsin to Illinois because of out-of-state cannabis purchases.

Last week, LFB released its findings, which estimated that Wisconsin residents sold $121.2 million worth of marijuana last year. Analysts utilized information from the Illinois Dept of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to come up with this number. The IDFPR breaks down monthly in-state and out-of-state cannabis sales by county.

LFB said that its estimates are based on the idea that all marijuana bought from out-of-state in counties that border Wisconsin was bought by people from Wisconsin. But it said that the real numbers could be higher or lower depending on a number of things.

For example, it’s likely that some of the out-of-state sales in the border states came from people in nearby states like Iowa. Also, Wisconsin residents could have bought cannabis in Illinois counties that don’t border their state, like Cook County, where Chicago is.

Also, the analysis doesn’t take into account the possibility of sales in nearby adult-use states like Michigan. Even with that error margin, the report gives a general idea of how much money Wisconsin is losing because the GOP-controlled legislature won’t pass laws to create a governed marijuana market in the state.

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana at Illinois Stores in 2022!

“Everyone in Wisconsin should be upset that our hard-earned tax dollars are going to Illinois,” Agard said in a press statement. “This money could be used to improve public schools, transportation, and public safety in Wisconsin. Instead, Illinois is benefiting from Republican opposition and their opposition to legalizing marijuana.

“We are an island of prohibition, and it hurts the people of our state,” she said. “As we’ve seen in our neighboring states, allowing responsible adults to use marijuana legally will bring in a lot of money for our main streets, regulate the illegal market in a safe way, reinvest in our agriculture and farming history, encourage entrepreneurship, and fix the huge and egregious racial differences that come from marijuana prohibition.”

In a separate report released last month by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, it was found that 50 percent of adults over 21 in the state live within 75 minutes of an out cannabis store, such as one in Illinois or Michigan. If lawmakers in neighboring Minnesota succeed in legalizing marijuana this session, that number could go up.

The state’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, released his biennial budget request last month, and it again would include language to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. The governor had already said that he planned to include the adult-use measure in his request, even though a top Republican lawmaker had warned that doing so could make it harder to reach an agreement on more modest medicinal marijuana legislation.

Agard said, “If Republicans decide to take it out of the budget, I will introduce my bill again to reach this goal.” He also said, “It’s high time we get this done for the good of our state and the people who live here.” “As legislators, the most important part of our job is to listen to the people we represent.

“The individuals of Michigan have been asking the legislature to take up sensible proposals that will move our state forward,” the minority leader said. “We know that legalizing cannabis for adults who use it responsibly has a lot of support in Wisconsin, including from most Republicans.”

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

As part of the governor’s budget proposal, his desk estimated that the state would get $44.4 million in “segregated tax revenue” from legal cannabis in the fiscal year 2025, as well as an increase of $10.2 million in state general fund tax revenue. The governor also included decriminalization and medical marijuana in his 2019 budget proposal.

However, the conservative legislature has always blocked the reform. This year, more than 1,000 bills about cannabis, psychedelics, and drug policy are being discussed in state legislatures and in Congress. People who give at least $25 per month on Patreon can use our interactive maps, charts, and hearing schedule so they don’t miss any news.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said in January that trying to legalize adult use through the budget could “poison the well” in the legislature and make it harder to talk about medical marijuana. However, the leader of the Senate has said that he thinks a more modest policy is possible this session. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) said, “Our caucus is getting close to medical marijuana.”

“Many of our members who may now be in a position to vote for it just want to make sure it’s regulated well.” The governor recently said that the Senate leader’s comments about getting close to a consensus on medical marijuana gave him hope, and he’s ready to sign such legislative changes as long as it doesn’t have too many restrictions and isn’t “flawed.”

Evers didn’t talk about his legalization plan in his budget speech this year, but he did say that the state needs to have a “meaningful conversation” about treating marijuana like alcohol in his inaugural speech last month.

Some Wisconsin lawmakers have filed bills to make it legal for adults to use cannabis. Former Construction Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R) has said that legalization is “likely” to happen at some point, but the legislature hasn’t even been able to pass smaller bills like decriminalizing cannabis or making it legal for medical use.

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

Before the November election, Evers met with college students and asked his supporters to get involved and vote, in part to make sure that the state moves toward legalizing marijuana. If the Democrats had won enough seats, they might have been able to pass a resolution that the governor put forward to let citizens put initiatives on the ballot.

Advocates said they hoped the move would make it easier for voters to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana, but it’s unlikely that GOP lawmakers will go along with it. During the last few election cycles, voters from all over the state have spoken up about cannabis reform.

Recently, people in three counties and five cities across the state voted in favor of the legalization of non-binding advisory questions on their local ballots. The local votes are mostly about sending a message, giving lawmakers a clear idea of how their constituents feel about their policies. But the ones that got through won’t change any laws on their own.

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

A statewide poll that came out in August found that a solid 69 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin think that cannabis should be legal. There is 81 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents, and 51 percent of Republicans agree with this. Republicans filed a limited medical cannabis bill last year.

It was heard on the unofficial marijuana holiday of 4/20, but that was too late in the legislative session for lawmakers to actually vote on the bill. Other GOP members have tried to pass bills that would make it less illegal to have marijuana in the state, but none of those bills passed.

As of now, a first-time marijuana possession offense can get you a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. People who broke the law again would be charged with a felony, which could lead to a $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in prison.

Legislative Study Reveals Wisconsin Users Spent $121 Million on Marijuana At Illinois Stores in 2022!

Last year, the governor vetoed a Republican-led bill that would have made criminal penalties much harsher for people who use butane or similar fuels to get marijuana. In the meantime, while lawmakers work on reform, the governor has granted hundreds of pardons, mostly to people who were found guilty of nonviolent marijuana or drug crimes.


Sheela Sharma

About Author

Sheela is a skilled and experienced writer with a deep passion for all things related to the CBD industry. She enjoys writing everything related to CBD and Marijuana. When she isn't writing she likes to watch tv series and listen to podcasts.

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