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Governor of Wisconsin Grants Another Round of Pardons, Ukrainian MMJ Bill Blocked, and Colombian Senate Committee Passes Cannabis Legalization Bill

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Governor of Wisconsin Grants Another Round of Pardons

Democratic legislators in Wisconsin have been consistently pushing for marijuana legalization for the state while GOP lawmakers continue to oppose this step forward. In the meantime, Governor Tony Evers announced that he will grant another round of pardons for 82 individuals in Wisconsin, which raises the total number of pardons issued under Gov. Evers’ administration to 1,111.  Approximately one-third of the most recent pardons are for people with prior cannabis-related convictions. Another third of the pardons issued were for individuals with other drug-related crimes on their records. Gov. Evers set a clemency record for most pardons granted by a Wisconsin governor in December 2021, and he has said it is a “privilege to hear about individuals’ lives” as they work to move forward from past mistakes. Unfortunately, under Wisconsin law, a pardon does not automatically expunge a criminal record. Instead, it is a formal type of forgiveness that restores rights lost to those with a criminal record, so they do things like serve on a jury or be able to have certain professional licenses. 

Ukrainian MMJ Bill Blocked

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Ukraine has been blocked, even though it was supposed to pass easily in a final reading. The measure advanced through committee last month and President Volodymyr Zelensky openly supported the medical cannabis bill. However, members of one party filed hundreds of “spam” amendments in an attempt to delay the passage of the MMJ measure. According to MP Olga Stefanyshina, the 226 amendments filed by the Motherland party are intended to “exhaust” the legislative process and “deprive the law of votes”. She further described the amendments as “spam”. Stefanyshina said that supporters of medical cannabis reform are looking into other avenues to overcome this delay so patients in Ukraine can gain access to medical cannabis products for relief. 

Colombian Senate Committee Passes Cannabis Legalization Bill

A Colombian Senate committee officially advanced legislation to legalize cannabis. The First Committee of the Senate approved the bill, which marks the third of eight debates the bill needs to go through before it can be sent to the country’s president, likely sometime next year. Earlier this year, Colombian lawmakers were very close to enacting a similar bill into law, but it stalled in the last stage of the Senate. Now, the entire two-year legislation process must start over again for the measure to pass. The bill will now move to the full chamber for review and consideration. Colombian President Gustavo Petro supports drug policy reform for his country and has openly advocated for an end to drug criminalization on an international level.