Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce urges Governor to Reconsider Proposed Decriminalization of Recreational Marijuana

In a February press conference outlining his state budget, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers proposed overhauling the state’s marijuana laws to make the drug’s medical use legal, decriminalize possession, and align the state’s laws on CBD oil with federal standards.

In his proposal, the governor also laid out his plan to decriminalize the possession, production or distribution of marijuana of amounts of 25 grams or less. The proposal would also expunge the records of individuals already convicted for violations under that amount who have served their sentences or probations.

As reported by workerscompensation.com, in response, the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the state’s chamber of commerce and largest business association – urged Gov. Tony Evers on in February to rethink his plan to decriminalize marijuana for recreational use. The WMC noted that Evers’ plan put Wisconsin at odds with federal law and expressed concern about the impacts marijuana decriminalization will have on workplace safety.

According to statistics cited by the WMC, employees who test positive for marijuana use had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries and 75 percent greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“There is not enough research on this issue to determine if marijuana can be used safely, and there is plenty of research that shows it impairs an individual’s ability to operate equipment safely,” said Kurt Bauer, WMC president & CEO. “Wisconsin business leaders care about their employees’ safety, and decriminalization of marijuana could substantially increase the risk of harm for those employed in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture and other business sectors.”

According to the latest semi-annual Economic Survey of WMC members, 66 percent oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

“The safety of our workers in this state should be of utmost concern for the governor and legislators, and decriminalizing marijuana will make it harder for employers to keep their workplaces safe,” added Bauer.

I&F will continue to monitor these developments in Wisconsin, along with all of the other states considering this issue. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Wisconsin claims, please feel free to contact Partners Scott McCain and Jack Shanahan who represent employers and insurers in the state on behalf of the firm

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