Of the four states that border Wisconsin, two have legalized marijuana use. Illinois will soon become the third when the governor signs a bill to that effect in the near future. If the state attorney general has his way, Wisconsin may soon join their ranks by legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes.

However, any measure to legalize medical marijuana may meet with resistance from Republican lawmakers in the state legislature. Though the Joint Financial Committee recently approved the Department of Justice’s budget, authorizing the hiring of another assistant AG, adding crime lab positions and supporting the Division of Criminal Investigation, it eliminated medical marijuana legalization from a budget proposal from the governor’s office.

The attorney general believes that legalizing marijuana would refocus the attention of law enforcement on more dangerous drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamines. It is unclear whether he is making any distinction between medical marijuana use and using the drug for recreational purposes when taking about legalization.

The attorney general went on to express a belief that people with chronic pain issues would benefit from using marijuana, which would in turn help to de-escalate the opioid epidemic. However, he does acknowledge that people need to refrain from operating a vehicle after using marijuana because the drug can impair one’s driving ability.

As of now, marijuana use remains illegal in Wisconsin, along with narcotics and other controlled substances. Therefore, possession and manufacturing of such substances still carries the potential of harsh penalties. Individuals facing charges for alleged drug crimes may find it worthwhile to seek out the services of an experienced defense attorney.