Wisconsin Lawmakers Amplify Punishments for Cannabis Extraction

Wisconsin representatives upped the ante on punishments for cannabis extraction, comparing dangerous manufacturing practices to the meth-making process. In some Wisconsin lawmakers’ eyes, extracts are entirely different from cannabis flower, and the use and manufacturing of them should be punished accordingly.

Wisconsin Examiner reports that on September 30 Wisconsin’s Assembly Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention held a hearing on a bill, Assembly Bill 440,  that would enhance felony penalties surrounding butane hash oil and related products. 

Hash oil—a concentrated THC extract that has been around for generations—was cited as one of the concerning forms of concentrates. Other popular forms of concentrates that have gained considerable popularity over the past few decades include wax, shatter, live resin, rosin, and the list goes on. But forms of butane hash oil (BHO) is what they’re really after.

Representative Jesse James (R- Altoona) testified on the bill’s particular focus on butane extracts but the measure also covers several facets of the manufacturing process. James emphasized throughout his testimony that certain methods of manufacturing extracts using butane can cause a risk of a chemical reaction and explosion. James cited “the open-loop system,”—a cheap, risky way of making concentrate. 

“Growing marijuana in your home is not going to cause an explosion,” James said. “It could cause a fire if you don’t properly take care of your lamps and everything like that. But this process in and of itself, it’s almost similar to a meth lab.”

Under current law, cannabis manufacturing, distribution, delivery and possession charges can result in felony charges that range in severity, depending on the amount of material involved. 

“Under this bill, the penalty increases to a Class E felony, regardless of the amount marijuana involved, if the person uses butane extraction in the manufacturing of the marijuana and in separating the plant resin from a marijuana plant,” the bill reads. The bill also raises penalties for people with past cannabis-related charges when they face new charges for THC extracts or resin.

The West Central Drug Task Force specifically requested the enhanced felony charges.

Representative Kristina Shelton (D- Green Bay) wondered if the law would conflict with future regulations—causing unintended problems. “My concern is if and when we—and I will say when because I believe that we will eventually legalize marijuana, I know not everyone agrees with me but I’m going to say when. …When we legalize marijuana, if we were to pass this bill… would this bill prohibit a closed-loop system that would be considered safe by professionals, using professional-grade equipment?” 

James conceded, “I would suspect that there would be a conflict there, statutorily.” While Shelton acknowledged the dangers of manufacturing extracts without the proper supervision, she believed the law could cause problems.

Governor Tony Evers proposed a $165 million regulated cannabis market that could fuel a $80 million community reinvestment fund, but it was shot down by GOP lawmakers. 

Wisconsin Senator Melissa Agard supported legislation to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. In August, she introduced legislation in an attempt to make it a reality. Agard announced the legislation outside of South Beloit’s marijuana dispensary. It’s located right on the state line between Illinois and Wisconsin, and served as the frontlines for the fight to end cannabis prohibition in the area. 

Wisconsin remains an “island of prohibition” without adult use nor medical cannabis sales. Over 60 percent of Wisconsin citizens support legalizing cannabis for adult use, while over 80 percent support legalizing medical cannabis.

In the meantime, however, local areas such as Milwaukee and Appleton, have all but legalized cannabis by passing local ordinances that drop fines for possession to no more than $1. In the city of Madison, cannabis possession has been decriminalized.

The post Wisconsin Lawmakers Amplify Punishments for Cannabis Extraction appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Legalization Makes New Advances in the Midwest

The push to legalize cannabis in the Midwest is making new advances, with lawmakers in Wisconsin introducing a new bill and Ohio activists amending language for a proposed legalization measure. Meanwhile, regional early adopters Illinois and Michigan continue to post strong recreational marijuana sales with record-breaking months in July.

Last week, a group of Wisconsin lawmakers appeared at a cannabis dispensary in Illinois (where adult-use cannabis is legal) to unveil a bill that would legalize marijuana in the Badger State. Under the bill, adults 21 and over would be permitted to purchase and use recreational cannabis while adults 18 and up with debilitating health conditions would be allowed access to medical marijuana. Younger patients would be permitted to use cannabis medicinally with parental consent. Wisconsin currently has no provisions for legal cannabis, even as it is surrounded by four states with at least some form of legalized marijuana.

The lawmakers gathered at the Sunnyside dispensary in South Beloit, Illinois — only about 1,000 feet from the state border — to illustrate how many of the business’s customers are coming from Wisconsin. On an average day, half of the cars in the Sunnyside parking lot have Wisconsin license plates, according to South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl. At last week’s unveiling of the bill, Democratic Sen. Melissa Agard, who is the sponsor of the bill in the state Senate, said that cannabis legalization would be a good move for Wisconsin.

“Legalizing and taxing cannabis in Wisconsin just like we already do with alcohol ensures a controlled, safe market for our communities,” Agard said.

Fellow Democrat and Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. David Bowen noted that Wisconsin’s drug prohibition laws have not been enforced fairly and equitably.

“Under the failed war on drugs, enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws have disproportionately impacted communities of color,” said Bowen, the lead author of the legalization bill. “When an individual is arrested for nonviolent possession of marijuana, they are driven from their jobs, from their families and driven from their communities.”

Despite a 2019 Marquette University Law School poll showing that 59% of Wisconsin’s registered voters support cannabis legalization, approval of the bill in the state’s Republican-led legislature does not seem likely, according to media reports. Agard said that the sponsoring lawmakers will be circulating the bill for two weeks in order to gain co-sponsors before moving forward with the legislation.

Ohio Activists Resubmit Cannabis Legalization Petition Summary

In Ohio, citizens rather than lawmakers are leading the drive to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The cannabis reform group the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol resubmitted petition language for a proposed legalization measure. In early August, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected an earlier draft of a summary of the proposal, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess, purchase, use and grow marijuana. After reviewing the proposal to ensure it was a “fair and truthful” description of the law, Yost cited a list of seven deficiencies in the summary and returned it to supporters for correction. The attorney general wrote, for example, that the summary did not adequately explain the “cannabis social equity and jobs program” and did not clearly indicate that home growers are limited to possessing up to six cannabis plants.

“In total, the summary does not properly advise a potential signer of a proposed measure’s character and limitations,” Yost wrote in a letter to the group’s attorney.

Last Friday, supporters of the proposal resubmitted the summary after addressing the deficiencies noted by Yost.

“We appreciate the attorney general’s feedback on our initial filing, and have fully addressed the issues flagged in this updated filing” coalition spokesman Tom Haren said in a news release.

Once the summary is approved, supporters of the legalization proposal will be able to begin collecting petition signatures from Ohio registered voters. If the group collects at least 132,887 valid signatures, the proposal will head to the Ohio General Assembly for consideration. If lawmakers fail to approve the measure, supporters could collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place the proposal before voters, perhaps as soon as the Nov. 2022 general election.

Midwest Cannabis Sales Break Records

If Wisconsin and Ohio successfully join the ranks of the states that have legalized cannabis in the Midwest, they will be able to tap into a market that continues to grow for the region’s early adopters of marijuana policy reform. On Aug. 3, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that adult-use cannabis sales totaled $127.8 million in July, breaking a state record set only two months earlier by 10 percent. Jason Erkes, spokesman for Chicago-based cannabis multistate operator Cresco Labs, said that visitors attending the Lollapalooza music festival at the end of the month helped fuel the strong showing.

“Summer tourism and the Lollapalooza attendees were strong contributors to July’s out-of-state sales,” Erkes said.

Legal marijuana sales are breaking records in Michigan, as well. Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) released cannabis sales figures for July. Together, medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis sales totaled $171 million, generating more than $23 million in tax revenue. MRA executive director Andrew Brisbo characterized July’s cannabis sales as “Another record month!”

The post Cannabis Legalization Makes New Advances in the Midwest appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Push to Legalize Cannabis

Wisconsin Senator Melissa Agard wants to finally legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. This week, the midwestern state’s lawmakers introduced legislation in an attempt to make it a reality. More than 60 percent of Wisconsin citizens already support fully legalizing marijuana, while over 80 percent support legalizing the consumption and selling of medical marijuana.

Agard announced the legislation outside of South Beloit’s marijuana dispensary. It’s located right on the state line between Illinois and Wisconsin. “Not only will this proposal allow our state to right past wrongs, it will also open countless doors to our farmers and agricultural sector to participate in a growing industry,” Agard said. “Wisconsin can no longer ignore the cannabis industry—we are losing out on millions of dollars and family sustaining jobs to our neighboring states.”

Agard has been advocating for legalizing marijuana for years. She is one of the new bill’s many Democratic sponsors in Wisconsin. By passing the bill, the senator wants to generate more economic support for the state. “Not only will this proposal allow our state to right past wrongs, it will also open countless doors to our farmers and agricultural sector to participate in a growing industry,” Agard said.

“Wisconsin can no longer ignore the cannabis industry—we are losing out on millions of dollars and family sustaining jobs to our neighboring states. […] Wisconsin is an island of prohibition. Prohibition has not worked when it comes to alcohol. It did not work with margarine, and it’s not working when it comes to cannabis.”

If cannabis becomes legal, $165 million in yearly tax revenue for Wisconsin is projected. The District of Columbia and 35 states, including Midwestern states such as Illinois and Michigan, are already reaping the benefits. Since Agard began representing District 16 earlier this year, she’s continued to advocate for her state to join a majority of the country in moving along with the times. Now, Agard is telling people to ask their legislators to sign the legislation, LRB 4361. Call local legislators, she implores. 

Months ago, the Senator even penned an op-ed, titled “It’s not too late for Wisconsin to lead on marijuana policy.” Since 2013, she’s called for legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. She’s even authored previous legislations in the state, to no avail. 

“I want to go back to the core reason that everyone should support full legalization in Wisconsin,” she wrote. “It helps us to live up to the aspirational words of our founding, that we are all created equal and should be treated as such under the laws of our state. We can lead in these efforts. There is no reason for Wisconsin to be the last state to legalize; we simply must have the political courage to do the right thing.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wants to do the right thing, as well. Earlier this year, Evans proposed legalizing marijuana for the 2021-2023 biennial budget. If his plan is approved, $80 million out of the estimated $165 million state revenue would go directly into the 

“Community Reinvestment Fund.” 

The fund would support communicates harmed by outdated laws, which have worsened racial inequality in the state. “Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin—just like we do already with alcohol—ensures a controlled market and safe products are available for both recreational and medicinal users,” Evans said, “and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state. Frankly, red and blue states across the country have moved forward with legalization and there is no reason Wisconsin should be left behind when we know it’s supported by a majority of Wisconsinites.”

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Thursday, April 15, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, April 15, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Schumer Says It’s Time To End Federal Cannabis Prohibition (Gothamist)

// California Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Clears Second Senate Committee (Marijuana Moment)

// Wisconsin Governor ‘Tired’ Of Marijuana Revenue Going To Illinois Next Door (Marijuana Moment)


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// Sixth Minnesota House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill On Its Path To The Floor (Marijuana Moment)

// Swap the crop? New York hemp farmers eager to grow marijuana

// Jushi Buying Dalitso Facility For $22 Million (My Journal Courier (AP)) (Green Market Report)

// Valens Q1 Revenue Increases 25% Sequentially to C$20 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Alabama Medical Marijuana Bill Moves Closer To Floor Vote With House Committee Action (Marijuana Moment)

// Neighbor states give Illinois $10 million in cannabis taxes every month (Leafly)

// With State Law Against Drug Possession Overturned Washington Governor Frees 15 People From Prison (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// South Dakota judge strikes down state’s marijuana legalization vote (Leafly (AP))

// Virginia lawmakers pass landmark recreational marijuana legalization bills (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Schumer Hosts First Formal Meeting on Legalizing Weed as VA GOP Opposes Legalization (Hill Reporter)


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// Deadline for Murphy to Act on NJ Marijuana Bill Pushed Back (NBC Philadelphia)

// Lt. Gov. John Fetterman enters Pennsylvania’s 2022 Senate race (CNN)

// California Clears Up Confusion Over Marijuana Industry Coronavirus Vaccine Eligibility (Marijuana Moment)

// New Jersey Governor Signs Psilocybin Bill To Immediately Reduce Penalties For Possession (Marijuana Moment)

// Wisconsin governor proposes medical recreational cannabis legalization (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana concentrate sales up 40% as more consumers turn to the product category (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Legal Marijuana Is More Popular Than Joe Biden $15 Minimum Wage Or Rejoining Climate Agreement Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Else Olofsson/Flickr

Friday, January 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, January 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// MedMen Responds To Vendor Payment Crisis (Green Market Report)

// Two years in, California’s legal marijuana businesses struggle with financial woes as they battle illicit market (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Wisconsin Governor Blasts Lawmakers For Not Legalizing Medical Marijuana Despite Public Support (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Illinois’ first marijuana lounge gets approved hours away from Chicago. ‘It’s going to be an experience.’ (Chicago Tribune)

// California to require marijuana retailers to exhibit QR code (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chicago Housing Authority relaxes recreational marijuana policy (WGN9 News)

// Cresco Labs secures up to $200M in debt for marijuana operations (Marijuana Business Daily)

// No edibles under New Zealand’s medical cannabis scheme, government says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Hampshire Lawmakers Debate Non-Commercial Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Thief Steals Cannabis From Chicago Airport Amnesty Box (NBC 5 Chicago)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
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Photo: Johanna/Flickr

Friday, January 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, January 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// MedMen Responds To Vendor Payment Crisis (Green Market Report)

// Two years in, California’s legal marijuana businesses struggle with financial woes as they battle illicit market (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Wisconsin Governor Blasts Lawmakers For Not Legalizing Medical Marijuana Despite Public Support (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Illinois’ first marijuana lounge gets approved hours away from Chicago. ‘It’s going to be an experience.’ (Chicago Tribune)

// California to require marijuana retailers to exhibit QR code (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chicago Housing Authority relaxes recreational marijuana policy (WGN9 News)

// Cresco Labs secures up to $200M in debt for marijuana operations (Marijuana Business Daily)

// No edibles under New Zealand’s medical cannabis scheme, government says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Hampshire Lawmakers Debate Non-Commercial Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Thief Steals Cannabis From Chicago Airport Amnesty Box (NBC 5 Chicago)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Johanna/Flickr