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Dane County to vote on pot legalization?

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A press conference was held Thursday morning to announce plans to put an advisory referendum on marijuana legalization on Spring 2014 ballots in Dane County. County Supervisors Leland Pan, Kyle Richmond and John Hendricks announced the proposal at a press conference at the Student Activity Center on East Campus Mall. Also speaking were Nate Petreman of Madison NORML and Gary Storck of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY).

The question to be asked voters is, "Should the state government enact legislation legalizing marijuana?"

A number of media sources were present, including WKOW 27, Channel 3000, Wisconsin Public Radio and others.

The Referendum will be introduced at the Dane County Board meeting tonight, and will likely be voted on in committee and possibly the full board at the first January meeting. If it passes, the referendum will be on the Spring 2014 ballot in Dane County. In Nov. 2010, Dane County voters passed an advisory referendum on the legalization of medicinal marijuana by a 75% margin.

A copy of the resolution is below:

RES. , 2013-14

Current law prohibits the manufacture, distribution, and delivery of marijuana and the possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture, distribute, or deliver it. Additionally, current law prohibits a person from possessing or attempting to possess marijuana. Depending on the amount of marijuana involved, an individual may face fines and potential imprisonment for violating the law.

During the 2013 Federal legislative session, a bill was introduced to end federal prohibition of marijuana. House Resolution 499 (H.R. 499) has numerous sponsors, including Dane County’s Congressional representative. In addition, the ending of federal prohibition allows state laws regarding medical and recreational use of marijuana to take effect without federal interference. Twenty-four states across the country have enacted laws that either legalized medical marijuana, decriminalized marijuana possession, or both. In addition, two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized marijuana. Dane County has already voted in favor of medical marijuana via referendum by over 75%. It is entirely likely that the state of Wisconsin may look into revising its own policy on marijuana in the near future.

In light of the growing number of states taking action, Dane County voters should have the opportunity to voice their opinion via a referendum. Such action will hopefully inform Dane County’s state and federal delegation on upcoming policy decisions related to marijuana.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Dane County Board of Supervisors places the following advisory referendum on the ballot for the April 2014 election:

"Should the state government enact legislation legalizing marijuana?”

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Dane County Clerk shall take all necessary steps to implement this resolution.



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