Which Mid-West state will be the first to legalize recreational marijuana? If some Wisconsin politicians have their way, Wisconsin will be first. Wisconsin is not the most progressive state when it comes to marijuana, but it's also not at the bottom of the list when it comes to states that may legalize marijuana. A bill has been introduced in Wisconsin's Assembly and Senate that would legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana. Per The Joint Blog:
Legislators in Wisconsin's House and Senate have filed companion bills to legalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, in addition to legalizing the cultivation of two cannabis plants.
Assembly Bill 246, filed by Representative Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee), and Senate Bill 167, filed by Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), would remove the possibility of criminal penalties for the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis, and the personal cultivation of up to two plants. Unfortunately the proposal wouldn't legalize distribution, meaning cannabis retail outlets, such as in Colorado and Washington, would not be allowed.
Under current Wisconsin law, the first-time possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is a misdemeanor with a potential 6-month jail sentence. Subsequent offenses are felonies, with a potential prison sentence of three and a half years. The charge for cultivating two cannabis plants is a felony with a potential 6-year prison sentence.
I'm not sure what the odds are of these companion bills passing, but it's encouraging to see a bill in each chamber that would legalize marijuana possession and cultivation. No state has ever legalized recreational marijuana via a legislative action. Wisconsin would be an unlikely first to do that, but someone has to be first, and I don't see why Wisconsin couldn't do it. It would be a tremendous victory for not only Wisconsin, but the larger national movement as well.