So what is Wisconsin waiting for? Wisconsin would pull in an estimated $167 million a year in taxes from marijuana sales if the possession of small amounts were legalized here. Moreover, cannabis could help cancer and other patients with pain, and provide a regulated and quality product for those who use it for pleasure.
Just as liquor stores now dispense alcohol, regulated businesses should be allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis, often in edible forms that don’t harm people’s lungs the way smoking does.
Wisconsin could save money, too, by not having to arrest, prosecute and in some cases incarcerate people for using a drug that an increasing number of states already allow.
In recent months, governors in New York, New Mexico and Virginia have signed laws legalizing marijuana. That means 17 states — some controlled by Republicans — and the District of Columbia now allow small amounts for recreational use. Twenty additional states allow cannabis as medicine, bringing to 36 states — nearly three-quarters — that are ahead of Wisconsin in providing Americans with more personal freedom. At the same time, these states are freeing their law enforcement and judicial systems from having to spend time dealing with minor drug offenses. They can address serious crime instead.