Eau Claire County Sheriff has concerns with Gov. Evers’ pot proposal

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(WQOW)- If it was solely up to Governor Tony Evers, medical marijuana would be legal in Wisconsin, and possession of small amounts would be decriminalized.

Monday he announced he wants to make it happen through his budget proposal and there’s already push back from law enforcement.

More: Gov. Evers announces marijuana reform proposal

“As a cancer survivor, I know the side effects of a major illness can make everyday tasks a struggle,” Evers said. “For many Wisconsinites, things like medical marijuana or other products like CBD oil can help alleviate chronic pain.”

Evers said Wisconsin should join the more than 30 other states and Washington D.C. in legalizing medical marijuana.

“People shouldn’t be treated like criminals for accessing medicine that can change or maybe even save their lives,” Evers said.

In the November election, 85 percent of Eau Claire County voters said pot should be legal medicinally or recreationally.

More: Voters call for legalizing marijuana

Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer said he’s not against medical marijuana if it’s properly regulated.

“We recognize that there are probably some good possibilities with autism and some of the other medical issues, but that should be separate, regulated by the medical community itself,” Cramer said. “Law enforcement will have to do some more training with our law enforcement officers.”

Under Evers’ plan, the Wisconsin Departments of Health Services and Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection would be in charge of regulating medical marijuana.

It would also make it easier for people to ensure access to CBD oil, often used to treat seizures.

Evers isn’t stopping at medical marijuana – he also wants to decriminalize it.

“We will decriminalize possession of marijuana in amounts of 25 grams or less and we’ll also be creating a path for expungement for these crimes for those who have completed their sentence or probation,” Evers said.

Evers said states and counties are spending too much money prosecuting people, and keeping them in jail for having small amounts of marijuana.

Colorado has raised hundreds of millions of dollars on marijuana taxation, but Cramer said he’s concerned Wisconsin will start having some of Colorado’s problems.

“We’re going to see it in our schools in edibles, other things that the legislature in those other states didn’t think about before legalizing,” Cramer said.

This plan is all part of Evers’ budget proposal, which would need to be approved by the Republican-controlled legislature.

Some Republicans have already come out against the plan.

However, lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly are planning to create a budget of their own.

Many cities, including Eau Claire, have done what they can under the law.

Last year, the Eau Claire City Council changed the first-time small pot possession fine to one dollar.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee

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