by Phillip Smith,
* Ballot Measures
* Medical Marijuana
* News Brief
Voters in Dane County, Wisconsin, the home of Madison, the state’s capital and second largest city, will be asked if they support passage of a state medical marijuana law, and they might not be alone. A city councilman in River Falls last week filed petitions seeking to put the same question on the local ballot in that town of nearly 15,000 in west-central Wisconsin, near the Twin Cities.
In the November 2 election, Dane County, voters will be asked: “Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?”
The move comes after medical marijuana activists such as Is My Medicine Legal Yet (IMMLY) have spent years trying to get the state legislature to pass a bill, to no avail. It is designed to show legislators they have nothing to fear politically by approving medical marijuana, and to suggest that the opposite could be the case.
The Madison resolution was approved by the Dane County Board in a unanimous voice vote on July 15. The charge was led by east side supervisors John Hendrick and Barbara Vedder, according to a report from IMMLY’s Gary Storck.
“I would just invite all of you to join Representative Vedder to represent our constituents and to represent the opportunity for all of your constituents to vote on this in November and to advise the legislature that they have nothing to fear from the people of Wisconsin if they decide to pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana,” Hendrick told his colleagues before the vote.
And they took him up on it. Now, the city council in River Falls will have the same opportunity, after City Council Member Bob Hughes filed more than 800 signatures last week with the city clerk’s office seeking to put a referendum question with identical language there.
Now, the city attorney will review the referendum question and then submit it to the city council. The council will then vote on whether to add the question to the ballot.
“Some community members contacted me about it and asked if I was willing to help,” Hughes said. It is another step in the process of bringing medical marijuana to Wisconsin, he said.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have already approved medical marijuana, although programs are not yet in effect in New Jersey or the District. Arizona will vote on it in November.