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Understanding the advisory marijuana referendum


La Crosse, WI (WXOW) – Through community information sessions the La Crosse County Board attempts to educate voters in preparation for the November election. Constituents are used to providing input on things like road funding and taxes, but come November they will have a different decision to make.

Before heading to the polls this election season, voters in La Crosse County may want to prepare for a unique question.

“Regarding the legalization of marijuana,” County Board Supervisor and 1st Chair for the La Crosse County Board Monica Kruz continues, “Are county voters in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state of Wisconsin?”

The question reads:

“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?”

The advisory referendum aims to help lawmakers understand the desires of Wisconsin voters. 

“There’s, like, 16 counties that have signed on to this and have referenda,” Kruz explains.

Those sixteen counties make up more than half the population of Wisconsin.

The referendum also helps gauge the different stances on the matter. David Onsrud looks at what other states experienced after legalizing and doesn’t think it’s as safe as people make the drug out to be.

“The states that are apart of this great experiment that have already been there done that, and making sure people understand when they vote this is not a harmless drug,” Medical Director for Mayo Clinic Health System’s Addiction Services David Onsrud describes.

“Alcohol is not a harmless drug, tobacco is certainly not a harmless drug.”

Some La Crosse County Board Supervisors see things differently, saying if constituents plan to research other states they should look for direct impacts of legalization.

“Philosophically what cause means, is to say if A happens B must happen, and that is very very hard to prove,” La Crosse County Board Supervisor Doug Weidenbach advises.

Regardless of the referendum’s outcome, no changes will be made because of the results. 

“This is not something that we are going to do, it’s advisory. So it’s a heads up to the legislature,” Kruz finishes.

The fall election will take place on November 6. You can contact your local county clerk to find your polling place, or visit My Vote Wisconsin for more voting information.

Peter Lenz

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