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Wisconsin residents spent millions on legal pot – in Illinois

By Caroline Reinwald | WISN via CNN

ILLINOIS (WISN) — Wisconsin residents are choosing to spend their hard-earned cash in Illinois, specifically on weed.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation estimates the state made $36.1 million in tax revenue last year from Wisconsinites traveling across state lines to buy marijuana.

The same report said more than half the cannabis sales made in counties bordering Wisconsin were made by out-of-state residents.

“It’s the power of the purse. We know people spend their money to match their values and it’s clear the legislature here in Wisconsin is out of touch with what the majority of people want,” said Wisconsin state Sen. Melissa Agard. “I think we need to continue to lift up the voices and values of the people who send us here to the building and do the real work that they’re asking.”

Wisconsin is currently an island for marijuana legalization in the Midwest, with each surrounding state having some form of legalization.

Gov. Tony Evers is proposing fully legalizing marijuana in his state budget proposal,but state Republicans say that won’t happen.

“For people who have long-term chronic issues, I am very sympathetic and I’d like to find a way to get it across the finish line,” said Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Vos said he does not support legalizing recreational marijuana.

“If we’re going to do medical marijuana, it has nothing to do with generating taxes for the state and it has nothing to do with creating a new industry,” Vos said. “We do not need to become like Illinois or Michigan where anywhere you go, there’s the stench of marijuana.”

A recent Marquette Law Poll reports 61% of Wisconsin voters support cannabis legalization in Wisconsin.

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