Democrats propose pot legalization as budget fix

Republicans not likely to advance measure

MADISON, Wis. - A Democratic state lawmaker says legalizing marijuana could be the solution to the state's budget issues.

Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, announced her bill Thursday that would legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana.  This is the third time she's proposed a similar measure. She said she's added provisions to educate in schools about the impacts of marijuana as well as employment protections for marijuana users.

But she told reporters that a reason she's introducing the bill this time is, in part, because of the tax revenue marijuana could bring into the state.

"This bill is not simply about legalizing marijuana. It's about legalizing opportunity for our state and our families," Sargent said.  "Marijuana could be a powerful economic engine for our lagging economy."

The bill is not likely to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled Legislature. Leaders have not been supportive of similar bills in the past, and only some lawmakers have expressed possible support for medicinal marijuana.

A spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker confirmed that he is not in support of legalizing marijuana.

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