Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

Wisconsin passes CBD medical marijuana bill, Dane votes 2/1 for legalization

April 1 was a huge day for marijuana law reform in Wisconsin and its capital city Madison.
Madison NORML Examiner

April 1, 2014 was a historic day for Wisconsin marijuana law reform efforts. In the early evening, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed narrowly focused medical marijuana legislation, and in Spring elections held the same day, Dane County voters passed Advisory Referendum #2, asking state lawmakers to enact legislation legalizing marijuana, by a nearly 65/35% margin.

With the state Assembly having already passed AB726, it now heads to Gov. Scott Walker's desk for his signature. 32 Senate members voted in favor with Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) not voting at all. {UPDATE: 4/10/14: All 33 senators were later listed as voting in favor.}

As with the Assembly's unanimous voice vote in favor of AB726, some names not known to be supportive of medical marijuana cast their first pro-medical marijuana votes. Watching the roll call on Wisconsin Eye was an amazing sound hearing the Ayes in favor from first-time pro-medical marijuana voters Senators Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Julie Lassa (D-Milladore), Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend).

Two Senators cast their second pro-medical marijuana votes in 32 years, having both voted in favor of the 1982 Therapeutic Cannabis Research Act, which legalized medical marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients but provided no means of supply outside of the federal government. Those Senators were Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Mike Ellis (R-Neenah). Ellis spoke of constituents who had to travel out west to bring CBD medication to their seizure-afflicted child during the discussion.

Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton), who along with Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) sponsored AB480/SB363, the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act (JRMCA), spoke about the JRMCA in brief remarks as the AB726 was taken up:

"I'm very happy that this bill is before us today (AB726), but I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the issue of medical marijuana overall. Real briefly if I could Mr. President, there are thousands, there are thousands of Wisconsinites we are leaving behind today, thousands of them, whose families are going out having to break the law to get marijuana so they can use it to deal with their cancer. This piece of legislation is a very good step forward but I would like to join over 20 states around this nation that have already legalized medical marijuana. This is a very serious issue. At some point it's going to become law here in Wisconsin and the sooner the better. Thank you."

Dane County Referendum #2 did amazingly well, although unlike its Nov. 2010 predecessor, an advisory referendum on medical cannabis which won with 75.49% of the vote, Referendum #2 did not carry every County ward.

Capital Times writer Jack Craver discussed the results in an April 2 Cap Times article, "While the referendum's passage was surprising to nobody familiar with area politics, its strong performance in some of the county's more conservative precincts reaffirms what polls have shown: legalization may be coming soon to Wisconsin.

"The referendum failed in the towns of Dane, Christiana, Vienna, Medina, Roxbury, Springfield and York. With the exception of Christiana, all of those municipalities backed Gov. Scott Walker in the 2012 recall election.

"But the referendum passed in at least three municipalities that Walker carried: The village of Dane, the town of Bristol and the town of Black Earth."

The advisory referendum's vote totals contrast sharply with recent Marquette Law School polls that found Wisconsin support for legalization between 42-49%. But the poll sample was much smaller 400 for one, 800 for the other. As the figures below note, in the few wards where Referendum #2 failed, it did not fail by much.

  • T Christiana Wds 1-2 66 71
  • T Dane Wd 1 74 85
  • T Medina Wds 1-2 101 125
  • T Roxbury Wds 1-2 160 205
  • T Springfield Wds 1-3 104 114
  • T Vienna Wds 1-2 61 71
  • T York Wd 1 31 58

The total votes cast in the five townships was 1326 votes, 597 for and 729 against, 132 vote difference. Perhaps in a higher turnout election the results may have been closer or even flipped.

All in all, April 1, 2014 was not a day of fooling around, not by the Wisconsin Senate nor Dane County voters and thanks to both the state has taken a big two steps forward on marijuana policy. With elections this fall, the subject of legalization whether for medical, adult use or hemp, will continue to be popular with Wisconsinites.

Report this ad