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Wisconsinites cross the state border for marijuana sales

With Minnesota’s August legalization of recreational marijuana, Wisconsin is almost fully surrounded by states that have loosened their cannabis regulations.

Marijuana is now legal in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.

But, here in the Badger State, Republicans have repeatedly killed legislation attempts for both recreational and medical marijuana.

That said, half of all Wisconsinites can drive to a dispensary within 75 minutes, found a February study from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Higher Love is an organic cannabis dispensary with locations around the Upper Peninsula.

Joni Moore is president of the dispensary.

“A lot of our customers come from Wisconsin and Minnesota. And we're really happy that we have our Wisconsin neighbors who like to partake in the products that we sell, and they enjoy the experience that we have in the store,” she said.

There have been some concerns about people crossing back into Wisconsin with cannabis products.

Moore says that’s not her job to monitor that.

“A lot of people who come from Wisconsin and Minnesota are also tourists in the Upper Peninsula. They're vacationing, they're using the products here in the UP as well,” explained Moore.

Reflecting on her clientele, Moore said that there are many different types of people who purchase cannabis.

“It's just really hard to pin it down. And there's so many different groups, people of all ages, of all classes, of all income groups. Everybody, every group, you could think of pretty much purchases cannabis,” she said.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has repeatedly called for legalization of recreational and medical marijuana.

Last Friday, Wisconsin Democrats announced that they’re once again introducing a bill to fully legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.

Previous efforts have been blocked by Republicans.

Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard, a Democrat, said to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Knowing that Wisconsinites are getting in their cars, taking time out of their lives to drive to these states and spending their hard-earned dollars in these states and invigorating a tax base and the economy in other communities — I know Wisconsinites would prefer to spend their money here.”

Michigan has already started cashing in on recreational marijuana tax revenue.

In 2022, there was $198.4 million available for distribution from the Marihuana Regulation Fund.

Michigan does not track out of state sales of marijuana, but Illinois does.

Illinois collected $36 million in tax revenue from Wisconsin residents buying marijuana there.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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