Report: Wisconsinites spend millions on legal marijuana in Illinois
Wisconsin lawmakers react to report
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The state of Illinois made $445 million dollars in tax revenue last year from legal marijuana sales and a portion of it came from the pockets of Wisconsinites. The Illinois government estimates the state made $36 million in tax revenue last year from out-of-state marijuana purchases, including people from Wisconsin.
When Assembly Democrat Lee Snodgrass looks at that large number: “My reaction is: this is a real lost opportunity for Wisconsin to be bringing in financial resources, which can be applied to many things we are trying to fund with the current budget.”
For Assembly Democrat Kristina Shelton it’s…
“Outrage and every Wisconsinites should be outraged.”
Shelton says polls throughout the state show a majority of Wisconsinites support legalizing marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes. She says the only thing standing in the way is, “Republican obstructionism. That’s it.”
“There really isn’t any other issue that I can think of that over 80% of Wisconsinites agree on. I can’t think of a single other thing,” says Shelton.
But that’s not the case according to Assembly Republican David Steffen. He says there are three main concerns:
“One is it’s still federally illegal. Two, our healthcare community is against it. And third, the cops hate it,” Steffen says.
Steffen says just because the state can make money on something doesn’t mean we should.
“We could certainly legalize cockfighting and prostitution in Wisconsin and make some money off of the taxation but I tend to think that there’s not going to be a lot of interest in that.”
Assembly Republican John Macco agrees, calling the report, “thin”
“The notion that they can attribute all of out of state sales to the state of Wisconsin is false, or the leap that if we would only have it here, we will be fine is just simply doesn’t connect,” Macco says.
Although Macco and Steffen are against legalizing recreational marijuana, they are open to medical marijuana. Macco has previously co-authored two bills relating to it.
“I think we’ll get it done. Hopefully this time. Obviously, the governor wants to do that. Now, again, the governor has been notorious if he doesn’t get everything he wants, then he vetoes that. So, I hope that’s not the case. Because there’s no way we’re going to do recreational,” says Macco.
“It is money that’s leaving the state. It’s money that we are leaving on the table. We know that Wisconsinites are using cannabis,” says Shelton. “We can make sure that our systems are safe and provide investment opportunity. So again, and over 80% of us agree at least that we should be doing something on medical. So, let’s get it done.”
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