Majority Chairman: $36 Million Won’t Offset Costs of Legalizing Marijuana in Wisconsin

by Mary Stroka


A Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo asserts Wisconsinites spent nearly $40 million on Illinois taxes to Illinois through cannabis-related taxes last fiscal year.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau Analyst Sydney Emmerich wrote in a March 10 memo to State Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, that an Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation report shows that 50.6 percent of marijuana sales, or $121.2 million, in counties bordering Wisconsin were to out-of-state residents. The sales amount to 7.8% of Illinois’ total cannabis-related tax revenue.

If all sales to out-of-state residents in Illinois counties bordering Wisconsin were made to Wisconsin residents, the memo says, an estimated $36.1 million of Illinois cannabis tax revenues in fiscal year 2022 were attributable to sales of cannabis made to Wisconsin residents.

The memo said the estimate could vary based on whether residents from other states purchased the marijuana, whether Wisconsin residents purchased marijuana from other counties, tax rates in counties and consumption of cannabis products that are taxed at other rates.

“For example, two of the dispensaries included in this estimate are located in Jo Daviess County, which borders both Iowa and Wisconsin,” the memo said. “A portion of sales at those dispensaries likely were made to Iowa residents.”

Agard has pushed for years for Wisconsin to fully legalize marijuana.

However, legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin remains imprudent, a Republican leader said Friday.

Chairman of the Majority Caucus State Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, told The Center Square that its current $7.1 billion surplus, Wisconsin’s not hurting for money.

“According to a study from the Centennial Institute the estimated cost related to marijuana-related OWI’s in Colorado in just one year (2016) was $25 million,” Wanggard said, referring to operating while intoxicated infractions. “$36 million is likely just a drop in the bucket for the costs of unintended side effects that inevitably come with marijuana legalization.”

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Mary Stroka is a contributor at The Center Square.
Photo “Van Wanggaard” by Senator Van Wanggaard. Background Photo “Wisconsin Capitol” by Carol M. Highsmith.


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One Thought to “Majority Chairman: $36 Million Won’t Offset Costs of Legalizing Marijuana in Wisconsin”

  1. Dave King

    Legalizing marijuana to get the tax money is like accepting a bribe, not good money. Shows the money hungry attitude that exists in so many individuals – to heck with the consequences; there is money there and it is wanted. The term “sin tax” should tell all that is needed to know. That’s all that’s needed is another reason to mess people up.